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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 28 February 2021

Jordan's foreign minister Ayman Al Safadi discusses Syrian civil war in Moscow

Kingdom balances accommodation of Russian role in Syria with strong ties to the US

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, welcomes Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Al Safadi for talks in Moscow on February 3, 2021. Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, welcomes Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Al Safadi for talks in Moscow on February 3, 2021. Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP

Jordan's foreign minister discussed ways to solve the Syrian civil war with his Russian counterpart during a visit to Moscow on Wednesday.

Ayman Al Safadi said he held talks with Sergey Lavrov “to find a fruitful solution to the Syrian crisis and other regional issues”.

Russia intervened militarily in the war in 2015 to support Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.

Jordan has since sought to co-operate with Moscow on Syria, without compromising deep ties with Washington.

Russia's foreign ministry said before the meeting that “one of the central topics will be the situation in Syria and its surroundings”.

Jordan is home to about 650,000 registered Syrian refugees. The kingdom has maintained direct channels with the Syrian government and kept its embassy in Damascus open since the revolt against five decades of Assad family rule in 2011.

But Jordan, together with the US and Gulf countries, supported rebels in southern Syria, the birthplace of the revolt, after the uprising turned into a full-blown civil war in 2012.

It abandoned this support after a tacit agreement between the United States, Israel and Moscow to hand back the territory to government forces in July 2018. Southern Syria is situated near Israel and is inhabited by clans that extend into Jordan.

Jordan reopened its main border crossing with Syria in October of the same year, a move in line with Russia's goal to see the Alawite-dominated regime reintegrated in the region.

The US did not support the move and official trade flows across the border have been tiny compared with pre-2011 levels.

Jordan is one of the largest recipients of US aid and has strong security ties with the United States. Washington has troops in northern Syria and in Al Tanaf, an area in south-east Syria near the border with Jordan.

Updated: February 4, 2021 12:22 PM

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