Jordan waives visas for Ukrainian residents and those with families

Jordanian officials have not spoken publicly about the Russian onslaught

Jordanians who fled Ukraine at the Marka military airport in Amman on March 2, 2022. AFP

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Jordanian authorities have waived visa requirements for Ukrainians with relatives in the kingdom and said Ukrainians living in the country can stay.

The decision comes after what diplomats in Amman describe as efforts by Western countries to convince the kingdom to take a more pro-Ukranian position as the Russian invasion enters its second week.

“Jordan has decided to allow family members of the Ukrainian community in Jordan and their relatives to enter the kingdom without prior visas and give them temporary residency on humanitarians reasons,” a brief statement by Jordan’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday said.

Like most Arab countries, Jordan had initially refrained from condemning the Russian attack on Ukraine, which began on February 24.

However, on Wednesday, Jordan was among the 141 countries of the 193-member United Nations General Assembly resolution to vote for a resolution that deplored Russia's attack on Ukraine and called for an immediate halt to hostilities.

It said Russia must “immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.”

But the resolution is not legally binding. Among the Arab countries, Syria voted against it while Algeria and Iraq abstained.

Around 5,000 Ukrainians live in Jordan.

Many are Ukrainian women married to Jordanians, and their children. A similar number of Jordanians were living in Ukraine before the Russian attack but at least 600 have since fled.

One diplomat, who did not want to be identified, said Western envoys in Amman have been in contact with Jordanian officials to urge the kingdom to take a more vocal position on Ukraine.

“The issue has been raised,” the diplomat said without elaborating.

Jordanian officials have not commented on the Russian attack on Ukraine. Their statements regarding Ukraine have focused on helping fleeing Jordanians return to Jordan.

Jordan, a US ally and one of the largest recipients of American aid, supported the 2015 Russian intervention in Syria, which was pivotal in helping the regime of President Bashar Al Assad regain most of its lost territory.

Moscow has played a key role in normalising ties between Amman and Damascus, a process that intensified at the end of last year and which Jordan hopes to result in commercial benefit to the kingdom, as well as lessened drug trafficking from Syrian regime areas.

Updated: March 06, 2022, 10:43 AM
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