King of Jordan receives first call from Syrian al-Assad in a decade

King of Jordan receives first call from Syrian al-Assad in a decade

Jordan’s King Abdullah II received a call from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday, the palace said, the first conversation between the two leaders after a decade of tension over the war in Syria.
The appeal comes days after Amman opened its border with Syria, as part of efforts to strengthen cooperation between the two countries, which face difficult economic conditions.

The Jordanian royal court said the leaders discussed the relationship between the “brotherly countries and ways to strengthen cooperation between them.”

Abdullah affirmed his country’s support for “efforts aimed at preserving the sovereignty, stability, territorial integrity and people of Syria”.

Syria’s state-run SANA news agency said al-Assad called on Abdullah to discuss bilateral relations and “strengthen cooperation for the benefit of the two countries and the people.”

The call comes as part of a new thaw in relations between the two neighbors after the war in Syria, which, according to the United Nations, has left at least 350,209 dead.

Warm up ties

The Syrian Minister of Defense visited Jordan at the end of last month. A 10-year-old deal to transport Egyptian natural gas through Jordan, Syria and Lebanon was also relaunched in September.

Syria was suspended from the 22-member Arab League bloc in November 2011, months after the conflict was sparked by the brutal crackdown on anti-government protests.

Several regional powers, betting on the fall of the al-Assad regime, have suspended diplomatic relations with Damascus. But Jordan has maintained relations with Syria, albeit limited.

Amman has hosted Western-backed opposition groups and hosted hundreds of thousands of refugees.

Arab and Western countries have generally blamed al-Assad for the murderous crackdown on the Arab Spring protests and supported the opposition at the start of the conflict, which displaced millions of people.

Syria is subject to sanctions imposed by the United States and many Western countries.

Jordanian businessmen had largely avoided dealing with Syria after the 2019 Caesar law – the most severe U.S. sanctions to date banning foreign companies from doing business with Damascus.

The course of the war changed in late 2015 when Russia threw its military weight behind al-Assad.


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