Ukraine Keen To Build Stronger Ties With Jordan

AMMAN, Jordan -- As Ukraine celebrates its 15th independence anniversary, the country says it is increasingly attaching importance to its ties with Jordan, describing the Kingdom as a leader of reform in the region.

Kingdom of Jordan flag

In a statement, the Ukrainian embassy in Amman said that the country's pursuit of better relations with Jordan is part of a wider Middle East policy, seeking "the development of good-neighbourly, equitable and mutually beneficial relations with the Arab countries of the Middle East and North Africa."

Since its independence after the collapse of the former Soviet Union, Kiev has established a wide network of diplomatic missions in the Arab world. The statement attributed its eagerness to build and develop relations with Arab states to an array of "geopolitical and economic factors," that have made the Middle East a strategically important region from the perspective of Ukraine's national interests.

"We in Ukraine believe... that the positive historical experience of interaction between our countries, geographical proximity, convenience of land and sea communication and... mutually complementary nature of our economies" are prerequisites for large-scale Ukrainian-Arab cooperation, said the statement.

Improving ties with Jordan is key to such openness to the Arab world, the statement added, which also highlighted Jordan's pioneering socio-economic reforms.

"Today, Jordan justly enjoys a high reputation of a regional leader in the field of democratisation the society and liberalisation of the national economy."

Citing common concerns between Jordan and Ukraine, the embassy statement said that both countries enjoy geostrategic positions in their respective regions, adding that the two sides also see eye-to-eye on international and Mideast issues, particularly the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The statement said the two countries are also "going through a period of drastic internal political and socio-economic reforms and integration into the global economy and financial markets."

According to official figures, the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries has been on the rise over the past few years, reaching $192 million in 2005. In the first five months of the current year, the figure reached $153 million.

But the figures are far below expectations, the embassy said. "We should frankly recognise that the present level of our trade and economic cooperation does not fully correspond to the great potential we possess."

At the human level, Jordanian-Ukrainian ties have been distinguished, said the statement. Citing official figures, it said that there are now 3,500 Jordanians studying at Ukranian universities, while there are 1,500 Ukranian women married to Jordanians and living in the Kingdom.

Source: Jordan Times