BEIRUT (AP) — Jordan’s overseas minister Tuesday met with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus, vowing to proceed delivering earthquake assist and work to discover a political answer to Syria’s 12-year battle, Syrian state media reported.
Ayman Safadi’s go to to the earthquake-hit nation makes him the primary Jordanian official to take action for the reason that onset of Syria’s battle in 2011. It marks a brand new thaw in relations between the 2 international locations and extra usually between Assad and the Arab world.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II had known as Assad final week to precise Amman’s willingness to ship humanitarian assist. Since then, cargo planes and vehicles loaded with help from the neighboring nation have reached Syria to assist with reduction efforts. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake killed over 1,400 folks in government-held areas and displaced 1000’s extra.
Safadi additionally met with Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad.
“We mentioned our bilateral relations and efforts to discover a political answer to the Syrian disaster that ends this disaster,” Safadi stated after assembly Mekdad at Damascus airport. “An answer that preserves Syria’s unity and sovereignty.”
In keeping with a press release from Assad’s workplace, the Syrian president thanked Jordan for its help, and instructed Safadi that the Syrian folks “welcome any optimistic positions in the direction of them, particularly from brotherly Arab international locations.”
Jordan, like most Arab international locations for the reason that begin of Syria’s civil warfare, diminished diplomatic relations with Syria in 2011. The dominion additionally hosted Western-backed opposition teams and took in a whole bunch of 1000’s of refugees.
Arab and Western international locations usually blamed Assad for the lethal crackdown on the protests that erupted in 2011, and supported the opposition within the early days of the battle, which displaced and killed tens of millions of individuals.
Assad has since regained a lot of Syria’s territory with the backing of key allies Russia and Iran, and a few Arab international locations that after shunned him have been slowly rekindling ties lately.
King Abdullah II and Assad spoke for the primary time in a decade in October 2021, discussing cooperation to bolster each international locations’ ailing economies over the cellphone.
United Arab Emirates International Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan met with Assad in Damascus on Sunday, whereas different Arab international locations near america, most notably Saudi Arabia and Egypt, have delivered assist to Damascus.
Some consultants say that the earthquake and humanitarian disaster that compounded Syria’s woes could speed up normalization efforts between Assad and Arab international locations which have shunned him for over a decade.
America, which has strict sanctions on Syria, has eased a few of them for the reason that earthquake for humanitarian reduction. However the U.S. has been important of nations renewing relations with the embattled president and not using a political settlement to finish the battle.
Stephen Rapp, a former U.S. ambassador-at-large for warfare crimes points who performs a number one position within the worldwide effort to convey Assad and his prime officers to justice for warfare atrocities, visited a catastrophe space in rebel-held Jinderis and Afrin in northwest Syria on Tuesday. He criticized the Syrian president for holding up entry to assist to opposition areas earlier than lastly authorizing the U.N. to open new crossings virtually per week after the quake.
“There may be the crime that this space is besieged by Assad and the worldwide group has been complicit in that siege within the sense that we’ve allowed them to strangle the world and haven’t acknowledged that the regulation permits the cross-border help,” he instructed The Related Press after his tour of the devastated areas.
Related Press author Sarah El Deeb contributed from Jenderis, Syria.