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Jordanian King agrees to extend agricultural land lease to Israel

Jordan’s King Abdullah II has reportedly agreed to extend an agricultural land lease to Israel that was part of the 1994 peace treaty, according to Maariv.

The land at Naharayim near the Kinneret and at Tzofar, about 120 kilometers north of Eilat, was leased by Israel for agricultural use. Under the agreement, the lease would be renewed after 25 years unless one side decided to opt out of the deal a year before, which Jordan did last October.

Official sources say that discussions are continuing, but in the meantime the lease in Tzofar has been extended for an additional agricultural season, around six months, in order to discuss future business models. There is currently no agreement concerning Naharayim.

The Foreign Ministry and the National Security Council are taking part in the discussions.

Israel conducted “intensive” negotiations in an attempt to retain the lease. If no agreement had been reached, the lease would have expired on October 25 and Israeli farmers wouldn’t be able to work the land anymore.

In September, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said that “there are discussions, not concerning an extension of the lease, but rather about the next step.”

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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