By Khetam Malkawi – Jul 14,2015 – Last updated at Jul 14,2015

AMMAN — France has just validated a new soft loan of $265 million to Jordan to implement three major water and energy projects, French Ambassador to the Kingdom Caroline Dumas announced on Monday.

Of this amount, Dumas said 150 million euros ($167 million) will be a water sector policy loan and $43 million for the projected Wadi Al Arab conveyer project in Irbid co-financed by the European Investment Bank.

In addition, $55 million of the total will go as a loan to finance the green corridor project.

The ambassador was speaking at a meeting with the press on the eve of France’s national day.

According to Dumas, the loan is new and was approved and validated by the concerned authorities but has not been disbursed yet.

In addition to that, France has also finalised another $166 million loan for the Bus Rapid Transit project. The agreement was signed with the Greater Amman Municipality in early June, and work on the project has already started.

Of this loan, $10 million is allocated by the French government as a grant.

The loan, Dumas explained, is given through the French Agency for Development but backed by her government, which contributed $10 million as a grant.

The diplomat noted that France’s priority is to help Jordan deal with the impact of the Syrian crisis and the challenges of hosting more than one million Syrians.

Thus, since 2013 and until the first half of this year, Paris has already supported Jordan with a $50 million humanitarian aid grant.

France has also signed an agreement with UNICEF to alleviate the burden of refugees on host communities in the Kingdom. Through this project, France will provide half-a-million euros to assist in alternative education in child-friendly centres.

The project will be implemented in cooperation with Talal Abu-Ghazaleh University, according to Dumas.

Jordan has undertaken courageous economic reforms, and “thanks to these reforms the budget deficit has decreased and the public debt has started to decrease,” she added.

France is supporting Jordan as part of the International Monetary Fund programme, and its efforts within international financial institutions to recognise the special situation of middle income countries.

In this regard, Dumas noted that another $80 million loan is being disbursed for different projects through the French Development Agency.

The loan, approved in 2014, is allocated for the Yarmouk Water Company for the extension of a water conveyer from Amman to Zarqa, as part of the Disi Water Conveyance Project and to support infrastructure projects in the Mafraq, Irbid, Ajloun and Jerash municipalities.

Turning to education, the ambassador noted that 45,000 young people in Jordan are currently studying French, and 2,000 received the DELF diploma this year.

In addition, there are joint master’s programmes between Jordanian and French higher education institutions with a focus on vocational training in tourism, telecom and water-related studies.

Dumas also noted that France is hosting the climate summit (COP 21) this year with the hope of reaching an agreement that is universal and binding

Regional issues

The ambassador said talks on the Middle East peace process initiated recently by her country’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, are still going on.

Last month, Fabius visited the region in a bid to revive peace talks among the concerned parties.

“The initiative has not failed… the dialogue is on between France and different parties,” Dumas stressed, adding that the French foreign minister came to the region to offer his help to all concerned parties because “he considers and we in France consider” that the situation on the ground is “tense” and that the status quo cannot continue, for “it is dangerous”.

“The role he wanted to play is the role of facilitator to help for [a] just and lasting solution of this problem based on the two-state solution and the parameters we all know.”

As for France’s participation in the war against the Daesh terror group, the ambassador said there is no change in her country’s position in this regard.

“We have a clear positioning which is to fight terrorism… we are committed and sticking to the coalition against [Daesh].”