Jordan and Syria have held their first official ministerial meeting in Damascus after years of hiatus as a result of the conflict in Syria. Despite maintaining embassies in both countries, Jordan has been without an ambassador in Syria since 2012, whilst Syria has not had a representative in Amman since 2014 after Bahjat Suleiman was expelled by Jordan for “interference in internal affairs” and “repeated insults” against the kingdom.
According to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, the meeting included the Jordanian Minister of Industry, Trade, and Supply Tareq Al-Hamouri, who arrived yesterday in the Syrian capital, and the Syrian Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade, Muhammad Samer Al-Khalil.
A Jordanian paper stated that the two sides emphasised a common desire to develop Jordanian-Syrian economic ties which will serve both countries’ interests. Al-Hamouri is reported to have extended an invitation to his Syrian counterpart to visit Amman.
Early last year Jordan had upgraded its diplomatic relations with Damascus which saw a Jordanian diplomat resume work at the embassy in Syria. At the end of the year, PressTV reported that Jordan had sought to restore full diplomatic ties with its neighbour amid former Jordanian Prime Minister Taher Al-Masri leading a 30-strong delegation to restore bilateral relations.
Jordan, which has over the years lost considerable trade with its traditional trade partner Iraq, has become keen to restore its economic relations with Syria. In early signs of warming relations with other Arab states, Algeria which is set to host the upcoming Arab League Summit announced that Syria “must rejoin the Arab League” after it was expelled in 2011. Previously, Tunisia failed to persuade the Arab nations to allow Syria to return to the organisation, despite Damascus’ reconciliation with the UAE and Bahrain.
Source: Middle East Monitor