Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to visit Jordan

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Al Safadi says the visit will focus on 'the Syria file'

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with King Abdullah of Jordan during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Chirikov/Pool
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will visit Jordan in the next few days to discuss Syria, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Al Safadi said.

The visit comes as the kingdom deals with a major security threat on its border with areas controlled by the government of President Bashar Al Assad.

Mr Al Safadi, who is in Algeria for an Arab League Summit, told Sky News Arabia on Monday that the visit by Mr Lavrov will focus on “the Syria file”.

Jordan said the Syrian military and pro-Iranian militias are linked to drug traffic from southern Syria to Jordan and pose a national security threat to the kingdom.

In 2018, Syrian government forces captured most of the area on the Syrian side from rebel brigades after a deal between Russia, the US and Israel that was supposed to guarantee Jordan's border security.

Security officials in the region said the drug-smuggling, particularly the stimulant pills known as Captagon, increased sharply in the past four years, as the cost of production in Syria fell and as pro-Iranian militias linked with the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah expanded in areas near the border with Jordan.

Last year, Russia brokered a rapprochement between Jordan and Syria. It culminated in a phone call in October 2021 between King Abdullah and Mr Al Assad, during which diplomats in Amman said the king raised the drug-smuggling issue.

Russia is the most powerful backer of the government in Damascus. Its intervention in 2015 turned the tide of the Syrian conflict in favour of Mr Al Assad.

Jordan, an ally of the US, tacitly supported the Russian intervention and has since strengthened its security and other contacts with Moscow.

Updated: November 01, 2022, 8:36 AM
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