AMMAN: Jordan and Iraq on Wednesday reopened their only border crossing, saying security had been restored three years after the Islamic State group seized control of frontier areas.
In a joint statement, the two countries’ governments said the crossing, called Turaibil in Iraq and Al-Karameh in Jordan, was reopened after it was “secured… against attacks by criminal gangs”.
The border crossing is part of a crucial route linking the Iraqi and Jordanian capitals, and its reopening comes after Iraqi forces managed to retake most of the territory seized by IS in 2014.
The route passes through the vast desert province of Anbar, where IS maintains some of its last bastions, including the towns of Rawa, Aanah and Al-Qaim, more than 200 kilometres (125 miles) north of the border post.
The reopening of the post is a sign of increasing stability in the area and the restoration of commercial traffic will be important for the economies of both countries.
Issa Murad, the chairman of the Amman chamber of commerce, said the closure of the crossing had led to more than $1 billion in export losses and forced the closure of many factories.
Adel al-Massudi, head of international affairs at Iraq’s commerce ministry, said the reopening of the crossing would namely have a “positive effect on the prices of cars”.
Until 2014, Jordan was the gateway for car exports to Iraq.
Massudi said he expected Iraq to resume importing goods from Europe through Turaibil and use it to export products including oil.
The post is 370 kilometres (230 miles) from Amman and 570 kilometres (350 miles) from Baghdad.
Iraq is bordered by Jordan and Syria to the west, Iran to the east and Saudi Arabia to the south.
The interior ministers of Jordan and Iraq, Ghaleb Zohbi and Qassem al-Araji, said in separate statements that the reopening of Turaibil was also a victory over “terrorism”.
“The reopening of this vital crossing signifies the will to confront terrorism… and our determination to restore life to its normal course in this area,” Zohbi said.
His Iraqi counterpart added: “Terrorism wanted to shut this crossing, as if to say we are ending life… but we want life and hope to persist.”