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Safadi, Lavrov discuss ties, regional developments


The Jordan Times


AMMAN — Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and Russia's Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov held talks in Moscow on Wednesday that tackled bilateral ties and the latest regional developments, mainly the Palestinian issue and efforts to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis.
The two top diplomats highlighted the progress in the Jordanian-Russian relations, reviewing efforts exerted to enhance them in all fields and realising the memos signed during the joint economic committee meetings in Amman in November into wider economic, investment and tourist cooperation, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.  
Safadi and Lavrov also emphasised the availability of opportunities to increase the trade exchange between the two countries and implement joint economic ventures in energy, infrastructure and defence, the statement said.
The two ministers agreed that the relevant UN resolutions must be the framework for all efforts seeking an end to the long-running Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on the two-state solution.
"Jordan's position is known to all. We want a just and comprehensive peace that can put an end to the conflict and we believe that the two-state solution based on the international legitimacy resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative, which guarantee the establishment of a Palestinian independent state on the pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, has no other alternative to achieve regional peace and security," Safadi said during a joint press conference with Lavrov.
Safadi urged more international involvement in efforts seeking to end the conflict, warning that losing hope and lack of serious steps can take the region to more conflicts and tensions, the statement said.
Safadi warned against any attempts to change the historical and legal status quo in Jerusalem and annex the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea area in the occupied Palestinian territories, saying that such unilateral measures would “kill all bases that the peace process is built on and would undermine opportunities to reach a viable two-state solution”.
The top diplomat reiterated that there will be no comprehensive peace in the Middle East without ending the Israeli occupation and realising the Palestinians’ legitimate rights according to the relevant international resolutions. 
Safadi said that Jordan and Russia agree on the importance of a political solution to the Syrian crisis that can end the large-scale suffering of the Syrian people and safeguard the territorial unity of their war-torn country. 
He also said that the Kingdom hosts some 1.3 million Syrians and is working with Russia and other partners to create the necessary circumstances that allow their voluntary return to their country, the statement said.
The minister said that a stable and united Syria is a “major pillar” of the region’s security and stability.
Safadi also called for respecting agreements in Syria’s north-western Idlib province, urging intensified efforts to avert more escalation there as innocent people and civilians will pay the price.
He also said that Jordan’s diplomatic ties with Syria have never been cut, stressing that the Kingdom will always do its part, in coordination with Russia and the international community, to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis.
“There has to be a joint Arab role in the efforts to end the Syrian crisis,” Safadi said, adding: “At the end of the day, Syria is an Arab country.” 
As for the Rukban camp, Safadi said that when its residents were not able to receive humanitarian aid from inside Syria, Jordan shouldered its full responsibility in delivering assistance and created a route through which all necessary assistance was delivered to the people in need.
People in Rukban are Syrians on a Syrian territory and there is a possibility to send them assistance from inside Syria, Safadi said, adding that the refugees in the camp can now go back to their regions.
On Iraq, Safadi stressed the importance of respecting the sovereignty of the country that has achieved a “big victory over terrorists.”
In regards to Libya, Safadi called for reaching a political solution in the north African country, warning that the absence of international efforts would turn Libya into a fertile ground for terrorism, the statement said.  
For his part, Lavrov said that Russia see eye to eye with Jordan over the need to reach political solutions to crises in the Middle East and north Africa, whether in Syria, Iraq or Libya. 
The top Russian diplomat said that return of Syrian refugees amounted to a big share of the discussions, especially since the Kingdom houses a big number of them, expressing Moscow’s appreciation for the joint efforts under the Amman-based Russian-Jordanian surveillance centre.
He also said that Moscow and Amman share an “identical position” on the way to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, adding that both countries are committed to the relevant UN resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.
Russia’s top diplomat welcomed the efforts to form a new government in Iraq, calling for respect for Iraqi sovereignty, according to the statement.  
Lavrov said that dialogue is the only way to restore stability and security in Libya.

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