Little tangible results seen in Egypt, Jordan and Iraq FM talks

Observers say that the joint coordination mechanism is an attempt to maintain relations while in reality each party is preoccupied with facing its internal problems and external complications surrounding it.
Saturday 17/10/2020
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (2nd R, Rear) with Jordanian and Iraqi colleague hold a press conference in Cairo, on October 13. (Mfa Egypt twitter)
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (2nd R, Rear) with Jordanian and Iraqi colleague hold a press conference in Cairo, on October 13. (Mfa Egypt twitter)

CAIRO  –A tripartite summit that brought together foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan and Iraq was held in Cairo on Tuesday.

The summit, held within the framework of the so-called joint coordination mechanism, was not limited to mere discussions of domestic affairs but also tackled regional issues and the best ways to enhance cooperation between the three countries.

During a news conference with his Iraqi and Jordanian counterparts, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that cooperation between the three countries was discussed, especially in the fields of energy, reconstruction and electricity, in “an atmosphere of political and economic consensus.”

Shoukry added that the foreign ministers also reviewed the latest developments in Libya and Syria. He stressed the need to reach a political solution in the two countries to end the crisis, noting that the meeting in Cairo do not target any party in what appeared to be a reference to Iran, and to a lesser degree to Turkey.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said that boosting joint Arab security requires greater cooperation, praising Cairo’s efforts to seek a political solution to the Libyan crisis and affirming Jordan’s support for Egyptian efforts and all efforts that go in this direction.

Safadi reiterated Jordan’s position that Iraq should be kept away from any regional influences, saying that the battle in Iraq is a battle to establish stability and implement reconstruction.

Safadi also spoke about the Palestinian issue, indicating that there was no real horizon for a solution.

He said said that the novel coronavirus pandemic demonstrated the inter-dependence of Arab countries, and that they are looking to devote further efforts of mutual cooperation in various sectors.

Safadi said that water security plays “an important part in Arab security,” whilst asserting Jordan’s support for Egypt’s position regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

He added that Jordan stands by Egypt in the latter’s efforts to reach an agreement that preserves its right to River Nile water.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein revealed that the meeting focused on economic relations and how to build a mechanism for coordination so as to press ahead with joint actions and future integration between the three countries.

Hussein said the three ministers discussed mechanisms of cooperation and coordination in the fields of energy, electricity, oil, food and medicine.

He added that Iraq will benefit from the input of Egyptian and Jordanian companies in reconstruction projects in the country.

But experts see the meetings between the three countries, which began years ago, as yielding so far very little tangible results beyond the usual statements of faith in common ties.

No breakthrough was achieved on the practical level when it comes to boosting relations between the three parties.

The absence of a breakthrough was frequently blamed on regional challenges, including the growing meddling of Tehran in Arab affairs.

Observers say that the joint coordination mechanism is an attempt to maintain relations while in reality each party is preoccupied with facing its internal problems and external complications surrounding it.

It is unlikely that such mechanisms would establish effective cooperation and networking of interests, especially since each party has its own calculations, even if they do not contradict the others’, but they are not among their priorities.

Tuesday’s meeting comes as per the directives of Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, Jordan’s King Abdullah II, and Iraq’s Prime Minister Mostafa al-Kadhimi, after their August trilateral summit in Amman.

At the Amman summit, the third to be held in such a format, the three heads of state agreed to boost trilateral cooperation in economic, political, energy and security affairs as part of efforts to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic.