Middle East

Jordan, Iraq reopen border crossing, vital to trade

Jordan and Iraq reopened their only border crossing on Wednesday after a two-year closure, taking a step toward stabilizing an area devastated by Islamic State group extremists and allowing for a resumption of vital trade.

Iraq closed the crossing after large areas, including the Anbar border province, fell to IS. The militants have since been pushed back in U.S.-backed offensives.

On Wednesday, senior officials from both sides attended an opening ceremony.

Iraqi officials, including the governor of Anbar province, Mohammed al-Halboosi, said trucks could theoretically start crossing Thursday, and that Iraqi forces are protecting the road to Baghdad.

However, al-Halboosi acknowledged that an agreement with a private international security firm, Olive Group, on securing and upgrading the road has not been completed yet.

The crossing is known in Jordan as Karameh and in Iraq as Turabil. It sits along a 900-kilometer (560-mile) trade route linking Jordan’s capital of Amman and Iraq’s capital of Baghdad.

Jordan’s exports to Iraq dropped by more than two-thirds from a pre-closure level of $1.4 billion a year.

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