Regional coordination and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict were the central topics at a trilateral summit between Jordan, Egypt and Iraq on Tuesday.
Jordan's King Abdullah II, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi "reaffirmed the centrality of the Palestinian cause," at the summit, stressing that the conflict must be resolved according to international law, UN resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.
The three added that Israel must stop efforts to annex territory and any measures that "undermine prospects to achieve just peace, or seek to alter the historical and legal status quo in Jerusalem and its Islamic and Christian holy sites."
Kadhimi added that Iraq's vision for the Palestinians is based on avoiding conflict and developing joint economic zones with Jordan and Egypt to enhance economic cooperation and integration.
The summit stressed Jordan's "important role" in safeguarding Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, according to Petra news.
The three leaders also discussed regional issues, including the need to find political solutions to crises in Syria, Libya and Yemen.
Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam, which Egypt sees as a threat to its water security, was discussed as well. The summit stressed the importance of reaching a "just and balanced agreement" that safeguards the water rights of Egypt and Sudan.
The three countries also agreed that there was a need to develop a joint economic zone and increase cooperation in the health, medical, educational, energy, trade, and investment sectors.
A business forum will be held on the sidelines of an upcoming meeting between Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt's industry and trade ministers.“Our meeting today is very important, in light of the current extraordinary conditions in the region and the world,” said Jordan's king, according to Jordan's state Petra News Agency, adding that food security will be the biggest challenge in 2021.
Bassam Badarin, a correspondent for Al-Quds Al-Arabi in Amman, told Arab News that the summit focused more on economics than politics, although former Jordanian minister Nadia Alloul stressed that regional politics were discussed throughout the summit as "in our region politics is always present and currently one can’t avoid the political discourse."
“Both Egypt and Jordan hope to find job opportunities for their citizens," said Oraib Rantawi, director of Al-Quds Center for Political Studies, according to Arab News. "At one time, 5 million Egyptians were working in Iraq.”
The trilateral mechanism between Jordan, Egypt and Iraq will be institutionalized with an executive secretariat that will be headquartered at Jordan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates for a year starting on August 25. The secretariat will rotate between the three countries.
The mechanism was originally launched in 2019. This week's trilateral summit was the third one conducted as part of the mechanism.