FM, U.S. counterpart discuss ties, Mideast issues

Amman, Minister of Foreign and Expatriates Affairs Ayman Safadi discussed on Tuesday with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo U.S.-Jordanian relations and ways to develop them in addition to a number of Middle East issues.

At a joint press conference after the talks, Safadi welcomed his American counterpart and said Pompeo’s visit comes at an important time and “allowed us to have an in-depth dialogue on several regional issues that are central to our joint efforts to achieve stability and peace”.

“We held productive talks on strengthening our historic partnership and bilateral relations. Our economic, trade, defense and security cooperation is at the best levels,” Safadi said, adding: “We are keen to strengthen this cooperation. The United States is a friend and ally that we highly value its support for the Kingdom. This support, particularly the five-year assistance endorsed by President Trump’s administration, helped us address economic challenges, especially the burden of hosting 1.3 million Syrians.”

Safadi indicated that his talks with Pompeo dealt with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict whose resolution is a key prerequisite for comprehensive peace given the current stalemate in peacemaking efforts.

The minister emphasized that Jordan will continue to work with the United States and the international community in order to bring about a comprehensive and lasting peace based on the two-state solution which guarantees a Palestinian state on pre-June 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital living in peace and security alongside Israel.

Safadi said he also discussed with Pompeo efforts to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis. “We talked in depth about future coordination in light of the US decision to withdraw its troops from Syria. We will continue, bilaterally and through the mini-group, to consult on how to make progress towards a political solution based on resolution 2254, a solution that preserves Syria’s unity and independence, restores the country’s security and stability and leads to the departure all foreign troops and allows for the return of refugees,” the minister added.

Commenting on the recent U.S. decision to withdraw its troops from Syria, Safadi said: “We discussed the future of the Al-Tanf region with the aim of ensuring arrangements that would secure our borders and address the issue of Al-Rukban.” He indicated that the Rukban issue can be resolved by enabling its residents to return to their hometowns in their country and that a Jordanian-U.S.-Russian dialogue is necessary to achieve this.

On the war on terror, Safadi said: “A total defeat of Daesh is a common goal for us. The US-led international coalition has made great achievements in defeating this evil, and Jordan and the United States have stood side by side in the fight against terrorism and we will strengthen this partnership. His Majesty King Abdullah II affirmed the need for a holistic approach to defeat terrorism which does not belong to our common human values and has nothing to do with Islam and the values of peace and respect for others. We will remain committed to this strategy.”

“We look forward to continuing our joint work as partners and allies in our pursuit of our goal of building a crisis-free Middle East, full of opportunities, where peace and cooperation prevail, and establish regional relations based on the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of nations,” Safadi said.

Speaking on the Syrian crisis, the foreign minister said the Syrian crisis needs a peaceful solution “that we and the U.S., Russia and the international community seek to achieve. Safadi underlined the need for a positive Arab role that contributes to reaching this solution.

In response to a question, Safadi said that the Golan Heights are occupied Syrian territory, this is the Jordanian position and this is the international position.

On Iran, the foreign minister said: “We all have a problem with Iran’s expansionist policies in the region. We want good relations with everyone on the basis of respect for the sovereignty of other countries and all should be committed to international charters, otherwise there will be a problem with their policies.”

Answering a question on the U.S. withdrawal from Syria, Safadi said the U.S. and Jordan are strong allies and “we will continue to coordinate on this matter, and we will address any developments that arise in a way that preserves the interests of both sides.”

The U.S. Secretary of State said he was happy to be in Jordan again; the first leg of his current tour to the region. Pompeo underlined President Trump’s administration commitment to working with His Majesty’s government on several priorities, saying the U.S. is committed to supporting the security and stability of Jordan.

The U.S. top diplomat voiced deep thanks and gratitude to His Majesty the King and his wise leadership in consolidating Jordan’s role as a partner and leader in the region. He hailed Jordan for hosting Syrian refugees and holding such burden.

Pompeo reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to working with the Kingdom in the fight against terrorism.

Source: Jordan News Agency