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AMMAN, September 11. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will hold talks with Jordan’s leadership on Monday. Amman will be the final point of his Middle East tour. Lavrov will be received by King Abdullah II and meet with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Al Safadi. The talks will focus, above all, on the Syrian dossier in light of the de-escalation zones operating there and other regional crises.
Bilateral relations will be discussed as well. Russian and Jordanian leaders, Vladimir Putin and Abdullah II, spoke over the phone on July 13 discussing Syria and the war on terror. In Amman, the two foreign ministers are planning to review the implementation of the agreements reached earlier. In addition to that, the two sides will exchange views on further steps to boost bilateral cooperation.
Russia and Jordan maintain regular dialogue on Syria and have been working in the Astana format this year. At the Astana talks, Jordan as an observer was initially represented by military experts, later on diplomats joined the process. Despite some disagreements in the approaches towards the political aspects of the settlement, including with Jordan’s participation, the parties have been able to make considerable progress in setting up Syria’s de-escalation zones during the talks in Kazakhstan’s capital.
Russian presidential envoy for the Syrian settlement Alexander Lavrentyev earlier stated that without Jordan and the United States it would have been difficult to establish the de-escalation zone in southwestern Syria, considering these countries’ influence with opposition groups in that region. This de-escalation zone was eventually launched on July 9, and the Joint Monitoring Center has been operating in Amman since August 23.
At the moment, it is necessary to coordinate the borders and control forces in the de-escalation zone in Idlib, with the issue topping the agenda of the Astana conference on September 14-15.
"There are contacts on the Idlib province between the guarantor countries and initiators of the Astana process, Russia, Iran and Turkey, during which considerable progress has been made to agree on the configuration parameters and methods of ensuring security regarding the Idlib de-escalation zone," Sergey Lavrov earlier said. "I hope we will hear more specific news in the near future."
The Astana process also complements the Geneva format in terms of the prospects for establishing a dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition. "A very important element of this concept of de-escalation zones and the program to set them up is establishing dialogue through the national reconciliation committees," the minister noted in Jeddah on September 10. "Within these zones, these is interest in setting up such committees to launch the dialogue with the government. That will be a very important addition to the efforts made in Geneva to ensure the UN-backed direct dialogue at the negotiating table."
Moscow supports Riyadh’s efforts to unite the opposition - the so-called High Negotiations Committee (HNC), the "Moscow" and "Cairo" group pointing to the importance of abandoning any preconditions. Everything should be done in line with UN Security Council 2254, which states that only the Syrians themselves can determine their destiny.
Other regional crises
During a telephone conversation on July 18, the Russian and Jordanian top diplomats spoke about the need to break the impasse in the Palestinian-Israeli settlement. On Monday, the two ministers will continue to discuss the issue. Russia has stressed on numerous occasions that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is one the key crises in the Middle East, which should by no means be forgotten.
At a news conference in Saudi Arabia, Lavrov elaborated on the state of affairs in the work of the Quartet (Russia, the US, the UN and the EU - TASS). He noted that Russia would not like "this mechanism to disappear."
"The situation in the settlement has indeed come to a standstill, putting it mildly. As a matter of fact, there is an impasse, which the parties have failed to break so far, although attempts are being made to find a solution," he pointed out.
During the talks in Amman, the two ministers will also raise the issue of the situation in Yemen, Iraq and Libya.