The Norwegian Royal Court announced on Thursday afternoon that His Majesty King Harald and Her Majesty Queen Sonja of Norway would make their first state visit to the Middle East in March. A press release stated that King Harald and Queen Sonja have accepted the invitation of His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan. The visit will take place from 2 to 4 March.
The visit is the King’s first state visit to the Middle East and also marks 20 years since the Jordanian King was on a state visit to Norway. A few details for the visit have already been released. The Norwegian Foreign Department revealed that the visit will begin in the capital Amman, where the official welcome ceremony and the meeting with Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania will take place.
In Amman, there will also be seminars on female entrepreneurship and the launch of the Alliance for Global Digital Commodities. “Music Norway” and the “Oslo World Festival” will hold a meeting on how to promote women’s position in the music industry. The Minister of Industry will host a Norwegian seafood reception where the Norwegian and Jordanian royals will attend.
King Harald and Queen Sonja will visit a girls’ school in the city of Salt. At this school, the Football Association of Norway has built a football field in the schoolyard. The project aims to give Syrian refugee children an active day-to-day life and contribute to their integration into Jordanian communities where there are many refugees. Furthermore, the Norwegian King and Queen will visit the Evangelical Lutheran Church, which is adorned by the Norwegian priest Håkon Gullvåg, and the baptismal site of Jesus in the Jordan River.
The state visit will highlight the regional political challenges the country faces and what Norway and Jordan can do together to preserve the room for political dialogue in the Middle East. King Harald and Queen Sonja will attend a seminar on this topic at the Institute for Peace Research and the Jordanian Research Institute Centre for Strategic Studies. The King and Queen of Norway will also host a event with Norwegian and Jordanian cultural performances at their arrival at the Dead Sea.
Norway’s Foreign Minister, Ine Eriksen Søreide and Minister of Trade and Industry, Iselin Nybø will accompany the King and Queen during their visit to Jordan. The state visit will conclude in the Jordanian landmark of Petra. The Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that this is a preliminary sketch for the state visit, changes may occur.
Last year, Norway and Jordan celebrated a double anniversary. In 2019, the two nations had 50 years of diplomatic relations and 25 years since Norway opened their embassy in Amman. Jordan’s embassy in Norway first opened in 2017. Jordan is considered to be Norway’s largest and most important ally in the Middle East. The royal families have long been friends, and Crown Prince Haakon has visited Jordan a number of times in recent years.
Royal Central will have broad coverage of the state visit.