Jordan’s top diplomat says sending envoy to Damascus

Jordan’s top diplomat says sending envoy to Damascus

Agency News

Davos, Jan 28: The appointment of an acting charge d'affaires to the Jordanian diplomatic mission in Damascus is a step in line with the country's efforts aimed at putting an end the Syrian crisis, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told Sputnik in an interview.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Jordanian Foreign Ministry announced that Amman had appointed a diplomat to its embassy in Damascus, where Jordan had not had an ambassador since 2012. Both countries, however, kept their diplomatic missions open throughout the war. "We always said there must be an Arab role in efforts to bring about a political solution to the [Syrian] crisis. Having a deputy chief of mission in Damascus is consistent with this position. We want the crisis in Syria to end and we will continue to do all we can to help achieve that. Ending the crisis is in the interest of all," the foreign minister said.

Safadi also noted that Amman never closed its diplomatic mission in the Syrian capital despite the conflict and had to temporarily close the border with Syria at one point only when Damascus lost control over it. "We never closed our embassy in Damascus. Nor did we close the borders with Syria. The borders closure was a result of the Syrian government losing control of them. When the Syrian government resumed control, we opened the border. We appointed a deputy chief of mission in light of developments and to ensure sufficient diplomatic channels of communications and to address ties. In light of opening the border, the embassy has to have necessary resources it needs to handle increased volume of work and look after the interests of our citizens as well," the top diplomat added.

Last October, a vital checkpoint on the Syrian-Jordanian border — the Nassib crossing, which allows goods to be transported from Turkey and Lebanon to the countries of the Persian Gulf through Syria and Jordan and vice versa — was reopened. The border crossing was captured by terrorists in 2015, and the Syrian government did not regain control over the checkpoint until July 2018.

While Jordan kept its diplomatic mission in Syria open over the course of the armed conflict even after recalling its ambassador, the two country's relations strained in 2014 after Amman expelled then-Syrian Ambassador Bahjat Suleiman for violating diplomatic protocol and insulting Jordan. Damascus, in turn, expelled Jordanian charge d'affaires who was heading the country's diplomatic mission in Damascus in the absence of an ambassador. (UNI-SPUTNIK)