Amman meeting explores path to end crisis in Syria

By JT – May 02,2023 – JORDAN TIMES

The foreign ministers of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq and Egypt during a consultative meeting in Amman on Monday (Petra photo)

  • Ministers, Syrian minister agree on agenda, timetable of talks
  • Voluntary, safe return of refugees top priority
  • Ministers agree to boost cooperation between Syria, neighbouring countries to combat drug trafficking 
  • Meeting calls for enhancing cooperation between Syrian gov’t, concerned countries and UN in developing strategy to strengthen security, combat terrorism

AMMAN — The foreign ministers of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq and Egypt on Monday held a consultative meeting in Amman to discuss efforts to find a political solution to the crisis in Syria.

After the meeting, the ministers issued the following statement:

At the invitation of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Ayman Safadi, following the meeting hosted by Saudi Arabia held at Minister for Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al Saud’s invitation to the ministers of foreign affairs of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt, and in follow-up with a number of these countries’ contacts with Syria in line with Jordan’s initiative to launch a leading Arab role in efforts to resolve the crisis in Syria in accordance with a step-by-step methodology, the Saudi initiative and other Arab proposals, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Egypt held a meeting in Amman on Monday, May 1, 2023, with the Minister For Foreign Affairs of Syria.

This meeting marks the beginning of a series of meetings aimed at resolving the crisis in Syria in line with Security Council Resolution 2254, addressing all consequences of the humanitarian, political and security crisis.

The foreign ministers of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Egypt stressed the priority of ending the crisis and all the death and destruction it has caused, and putting an end to the suffering of the Syrian people and the crisis’ negative regional and international repercussions, through a political solution that preserves Syria’s unity, cohesion and sovereignty, meets the aspirations of its people and contributes to the promotion of conditions conducive to the voluntary and safe return of refugees, the departure of all illegal foreign forces from Syria, realising national interests and the restoration of Syria’s security, stability and role.

The meeting went over the humanitarian aspects of the crisis and the steps needed to achieve progress that is directly reflected on the Syrian people, as well as a number of security and political issues.

The ministers and the Syrian minister agreed on the agenda of the talks, which will continue according to a timetable agreed upon and complementary to all relevant UN and other efforts regarding humanitarian, security and political conditions in Syria.

The ministers also agreed that the delivery of humanitarian and medical assistance, which helps meet the needs of Syrian people throughout the country, must be combined in coordination with the Syrian government and relevant UN agencies, in line with the relevant UN resolutions, including resolutions 2642 and 2672.  

The ministers welcomed the Syrian government’s decision to open the Bab Al Salama and Al Raie border crossings to the UN for the delivery of humanitarian and medical assistance after the earthquake that struck Syria on February 6, and expressed their satisfaction with the Syrian government’s decision to consider the extension of this resolution to ensure that assistance reaches those who need it.

The ministers also said that the voluntary and safe return of refugees to their country is a top priority and steps must be taken to begin its immediate implementation.

They agreed to boost cooperation between the Syrian government and refugee host countries and coordinate with relevant UN bodies to organise the voluntary and safe return of refugees and end their suffering, in accordance with specific procedures and a clear time frame.

The ministers agreed that the Syrian government, in coordination with relevant UN bodies, should embark on identifying the requirements for improving public services for the return of refugees and to consider providing Arab and international contributions, while clarifying the measures it will take to facilitate their return, including in the context of their inclusion in general pardon decrees.

They also agreed to intensify work with the international community and the UN to accelerate the implementation of early recovery projects, including in areas where refugees are expected to return, leading to improved infrastructure to provide a decent living for refugees who choose to return voluntarily to Syria, including the construction of schools, hospitals, public facilities and employment opportunities, contributing to stability.

The ministers agreed that similar steps should be taken, as appropriate, to resolve the issue of internally displaced people, including the Rukban camp.

They agreed to start cooperation between the Syrian government and the Jordanian government, in coordination with relevant UN bodies to organise the voluntary return of some 1,000 Syrian refugees residing in Jordan, where the Syrian government ensures conditions and requirements for their return, and UN bodies provide for their needs in accordance with their working mechanisms and in the context of the early recovery process stipulated in the relevant UN resolutions, where a later stage should include other countries hosting Syrian refugees.

The foreign ministers emphasised the importance of enhancing cooperation to advance efforts to exchange kidnapped people and detainees, and search for missing persons in a deliberate manner with all parties and relevant international organisations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, in coordination with the Syrian government.

They called for enhancing cooperation between the Syrian government, concerned countries and the UN in developing a comprehensive strategy to strengthen security and combat terrorism in all its forms, to end the presence of terrorist organisations in Syrian territory and to neutralise their capacity to threaten regional and international security.

They agreed to support Syria and its institutions in any legitimate efforts to extend control over their territory and to impose the rule of law, end the presence of armed and terrorist groups in Syrian territory and stop foreign interventions in Syria’s internal affairs, in accordance with international law and the UN Charter.

They agreed to boost cooperation between Syria, neighbouring countries and other countries affected by drug trafficking and smuggling across Syria’s borders, in line with Syria’s national, Arab and international obligations in this regard. 

In this context, Syria will cooperate with Jordan and Iraq in establishing two separate joint political-security working groups within a month to identify the sources of drug production and smuggling in Syria, and the entities that organise, manage and carry out cross-border smuggling operations, with Jordan and Iraq taking the necessary steps to end smuggling operations and end this escalating threat to the region as a whole.

They agreed on effective steps to address the security challenges associated with border security by establishing effective coordination mechanisms between the Syrian military and security agencies, and their counterparts in neighbouring countries.

They also agreed to resume the constitutional commission’s work as soon as possible, in the context of political steps aimed at achieving comprehensive national reconciliation.

The ministers said that countries participating in the meeting will work with other countries and the international community to meet the positive steps of the Syrian government with more positive steps to build on what has been accomplished and to move towards a political solution that will end the suffering of the Syrian people and the catastrophic consequences of the crisis in Syria, realise national reconciliation, allow Syria to embark on reconstruction towards a safe future that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people and their right to live in peace in their country and restore Syria’s historical role in the region. 

The ministers agreed to establish a technical team of experts to follow up on the outcomes of this meeting and identify the next steps in the context of this targeted path to address the solution of the crisis in Syria and all its ramifications.

The ministers will communicate with other Arab and non-Arab countries and the UN to inform them of the outcomes of the meeting, which was agreed upon at the Consultative Meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt in Saudi Arabia on April 14, 2023.

The ministers of foreign affairs of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Egypt expressed their appreciation for the positive engagement shown by the Syrian foreign minister in examining the initiatives and steps presented during the meeting.

They also called on Syria to continue actions to deal with all repercussions of the crisis in Syria in order to achieve a political solution to end the crisis and the suffering of Syria and its people.


2 replies

  1. Well, the US and Iran are both also involved. Should they not have been in the meeting too?

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