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Top Russian, Jordanian diplomats to discuss situation in Syria

May 03, 2018, 1:37 UTC+3 SOCHI

Sergey Lavrov and Ayman Safadi plan to exchange views on a wide array of pressing international and regional issues, discuss the current state and prospects for Russian-Jordanian cooperation

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

© Sergei Savostyanov/TASS

SOCHI, May 3. /TASS/. Russian and Jordanian Foreign Ministers Sergey Lavrov and Ayman Safadi will hold a meeting in Sochi on Thursday. The situation in Syria and the work of the de-escalation zone in the south of that country are expected to top the agenda of the negotiations.

"During the talks, which are scheduled to be held in Sochi, [the two ministers] plan to exchange views on a wide array of pressing international and regional issues, discuss the current state and prospects for Russian-Jordanian cooperation," Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said earlier. According to Zakharova, the situation in Syria with an emphasis on developments in the south of that country, specifically, the work of the de-escalation zone coordinated with the participation of Russia, the US and Jordan is expected to top the agenda.

Besides, the two top diplomats will exchange views on the situation in the Gaza Strip and the impact of events taking place there on the prospects for a Middle East settlement.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Lavrov and Safadi will also take up some pressing issues related to the multifaceted and mutually beneficial Russian-Jordanian cooperation.

Jordanian diplomacy

Jordan has traditionally played an important role in the Middle East, including due to the fact that the kingdom is led by the Hashemite dynasty, which is held in high esteem. The Jordanian monarchs have maintained friendly relations with both Russia and Western countries, which contributed to efforts to strengthen their influence in the region and in the world.

The talks between Lavrov and Safadi will take place in the wake of Monday’s visit to Amman by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The top US diplomat was received by King Abdullah II and met with Safadi. The US Department of State later reported that the two sides focused on the need to step up efforts on achieving a political settlement in Syria, resolving the Middle East conflict and countering the growth of Iran’s influence in the region.

Syrian crisis

Moscow has cooperated with Amman throughout the crisis in Syria. Jordan joined the International Syria Support Group. In July 2017, an agreement was reached on its involvement, along with Russia and the US, to efforts to set up a de-escalation zone near the city of Daraa in southern Syria.

However, the situation there has deteriorated in recent months. The Russian Foreign Ministry reported that attempts were being made by the Syrian opposition and the Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State terror groups (both outlawed in Russia) backed by the US to create an autonomy in southern Syria, which may lead to the country‘s disintegration.

The strikes carried out by the US, the UK and France on April 14 have exacerbated the situation. According to the Syrian media, new strikes followed on April 29 and May 1. However, military officials of the parties concerned have not confirmed these reports. According to some regional media outlets, the April 29 strike could be carried out from Jordan’s territory. Jordan has rejected these reports.

Jordan itself is carrying the burden of the Syrian crisis, with over a million Syrian refugees staying on its oil.

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