(Photo Credit: Saudi Press Agency)
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) met with Jordanian Prime Minister Bishr Hani al-Khasawneh on 12 December to discuss the expansion of bilateral relations and review the existing partnerships between the kingdom and Amman.
During the meeting, the attendees stressed the importance of Saudi-Jordan solidarity as the two figures planned out projects to boost bilateral cooperation in economy, investment, trade, energy, transportation, and water.
Both sides agreed to hold several meetings of the Jordanian-Saudi Joint Committee during the initial month of 2023 to finalize agreements, bolster its communication channels, and follow up on regional issues.
Trade between the two nations significantly increased within the first three quarters of the year compared to 2021, increasing by 35 percent and reaching $14 billion.
Riyadh’s net investment in Amman’s economy is $12 billion, the highest in West Asia, and MbS has expressed interest in increasing the kingdom’s investments in Jordan.
In late September, according to a Kuwaiti based newspaper, Amman and Riyadh signed a joint-energy cooperation deal that will make Jordan a hub for energy exchange in the region.
According to ‘Energy & Utilities’ website, the interconnection will have a capacity of 500 MWh and the technical capability to accommodate an increase to 1 GWh for future upgrades.
Saudi Arabia has ensured that the deal will become commercially active by 2025. In 2020, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to construct a shared 164 km electricity grid.
Before the start of the energy crisis, instigated by western sanctions imposed on Russia due to its military operation in Ukraine, Jordan agreed to provide Lebanon with gas via Syria in a US-brokered deal.
Reuters reported that Beirut would receive an additional 150 megawatts per day, granting them two extra hours of electricity.
The Cradle released an analysis piece suggesting that the US devised the deal to place pressure on Lebanon’s energy sector over the presence of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah and leverage the gas deal with Jordan and Egypt to essentially influence the Lebanese-Israeli maritime border talks.