Jordan, September 12, 2017
Jordan, Russia to continue developing ties, say FMs

Minister of Foreign and Expatriates Affairs Ayman Safadi and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov said Jordan and the Russian Federation will continue to cement bilateral ties through practical steps to enhance cooperation in economic, trade, investment, defense and cultural fields.

The two ministers stressed that the two countries will continue to cooperate on efforts aimed at resolving regional crises and achieving security and stability in the Middle East. They also discussed efforts to find a political horizon to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The talks dealt with the Jordanian-Russian-US talks hosted by Jordan to establish a zone of de-escalation in the Syrian south as a step towards achieving a comprehensive cessation of hostilities in Syria and reaching a political solution to the crisis.

Following the meeting, the two ministers held a joint press conference in which they spoke about Jordanian-Russian ties and a number of Middle East issues.

Safadi told reporters that Jordan approaches the situation in Syria in a manner that achieves 'our national Jordanian interests with its comprehensive definition. The Jordanian national interest requires, inter alia, that our borders be secure, and this means that there should be no presence for Daesh, Nusra or any other militias.'

'We want all the sectarian forces to leave Syria. We want Syria to become again a secure, stable and independent state that has sovereignty and ensures security for its people,' Safadi added.

The minister said that all know that there is no military solution to the crisis and that Syrian people will remain the victim of the ongoing fighting, pointing out the Syrian crisis continues to place major pressures on the Kingdom, which hosts more than 1.3 million Syrians.

Safadi emphasized that the forthcoming round of talks in Astana is an effort designed to achieve a cease-fire and create an environment conducive to a political solution based on the resolution of Geneva 1 and Resolution 2254 'because the solution must be political and must be based on what we agreed as an international community.'

In response to a question about the possibility of re-opening the border with Syria, the minister said: 'We are dealing with the Syrian issue in a manner that would serve our national interest.'

'We are partners in our efforts to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis. We are working with our friends in Russia, the United States, the Arab countries and the international community to reach this solution, which should preserve Syria's unity, cohesion and independence and liberate it from all militias and terrorist gangs,' the minister asserted.

On the Palestinian issue, Safadi stressed that Jordan had repeatedly warned of the consequences of the current political stalemate, because despair and the absence of a political horizon serve only extremism and will only lead to more tension that threatens the region and its security.

The Russian foreign minister stressed the importance of taking the necessary steps to increase trade exchange, strengthen economic ties and expand cooperation in the cultural, educational and defense fields, and said it's a priority for Russia to build bridges of communication between the two countries.

On the Syrian crisis, Lavrov said that Russia and Jordan share common positions on the need to put an immediate end to bloodshed, find solutions to humanitarian issues and, above all, launch a real process of settlement in accordance with United Nations resolutions.

'We also have a common position on the need to implement the demands of the Security Council on respecting the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Syria and to give the Syrians their own chance to determine the fate of their country,' Lavrov said.

He indicated that the talks touched on the de-escalation zone south of Syria, which was agreed upon between Jordan, Russia and the U.S.

Lavrov said Russia was concerned about the deadlock in the Middle East peace process and noted that the absence of prospects for a solution to the region's oldest crisis benefits those who want to undermine stability in this important region.

'We agreed to continue efforts to resume the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations in accordance with the UN resolutions and the Arab peace initiative, which was supported by the entire international community,' he added. The Russian minister said his country supports maintaining the status quo in Jerusalem.

On efforts to combat terrorism and extremism, Lavrov said: 'Russia and Jordan have a common understanding and vision on how to achieve this without double standards and without using the slogans of fighting extremism to interfere in the sovereign affairs of other countries'.

In response to a question on the role of Jordan in the region, Lavrov said that Russia highly appreciates Jordan's participation in the Astana process and the de-escalation zones.