Austrian President Heinz Fischer is in Jordan for a few days, to strengthen economic ties with the Middle East country. He arrived this morning, along with his wife First Lady Margit, upon invitation by King Abdullah and Queen Rania.
Stressing the importance of bolstering ties with Jordan, the President said, “We in Austria consider Jordan as a gateway to the Middle East in many senses: Political, economic and cultural, and that is important because we need such a gateway between Europe and the Arab world. We appreciate the role Jordan is playing as a mediator between Europe and the Arab world and the intercultural dialogue between them.”
The two countries are expected to sign several economic agreements during the visit. There will also be two business forums to be held in Amman and Aqabah, where Austrian and Jordanian business leaders will discuss cooperation, exports and imports.
It is also expected that Fischer will talk about Middle East peace with the King.
Austria already exports to Jordan, though mostly phosphates. Jordan in turn sends such things as mineral water, machinery and paper.
The British royal family gathered at the Cenotaph to mark Remembrance Sunday, which honors those who lost their lives in war. This year’s event also marks the 90th anniversary of the end of World War I.
Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince William, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Countess of Wessex were all in attendance at the 11am, when Big Ben began to chime. The Queen joined thousands of troops, veterans and civilians in the traditional two-minute silence. The silence was broken by a single artillery blast and the sound of the Royal Marine buglers playing the “Last Post.”
The Queen then laid a wreath at the Cenotaph, located in central London near several government buildings. It is a simple stone monument inscribed with the words, “The Glorious Dead.” Her Majesty was wearing black, with a couple of poppies on her coat.
She was followed by her husband, Prince Philip, her son, Prince Charles, and her grandson Prince William. Prince Harry was not in attendance, even though he spent 10 weeks fighting in Afghanistan nearly a year ago.
British politicians also took part in wreath laying. They include Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and opposition leader David Cameron.
The Bishop of London, the Right Rev. Richard Chartres, led a short prayer service before thousands of veterans began marching.
The remembrance service is held every year on the nearest Sunday to the anniversary of the end of World War I at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918.
Remembrance Sunday now pays tribute to the dead in all conflicts, including World War II, the 122 British personnel killed in Afghanistan since 2001 and the 176 who have died in Iraq since 2003.