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Jordan, Russia set up mechanism of military coordination concerning south Syria

By JT - Oct 24,2015 - Last updated at Oct 24,2015

In this photo taken on October 22, a Russian pilot walks next to his fighter jet at Hemeimeem Air Base, Syria (AP photo)

AMMAN — Jordan and Russia have agreed to coordinate military action in Syria, setting up a "special working mechanism" in the Kingdom's capital, according to senior officials from the two countries.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh made the remarks during his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Vienna Friday to discuss the latest developments in Syria and efforts to reach a political solution to the crisis, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

The meeting came as part of consultation and coordination between the two nations, building upon a recent phone call between His Majesty King Abdullah and Russian President Vladimir Putin to unify international efforts aimed at containing the Syrian crisis and finding a political solution, Petra said.

"The military coordination mechanism between Jordan and Russia concerns southern Syria and aims to ensure security of the Kingdom's northern frontiers," Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Mohammad Momani told The Jordan Times Friday, adding that coordination between the two nations is not new and occurs on all levels.

Speaking from Vienna — where he was attending talks with senior officials from the US, Turkey and Saudi Arabia to explore political solutions to Syria’s civil war — and broadcasted by Rossiya-24 television channel, Lavrov said: “The militaries of the two countries have agreed to coordinate their actions through a working mechanism in Amman.”

“We think that other states involved in the war against terrorism can join this mechanism as well,” he added.

Russia, which is bombing rebel targets in Syria in support of its ally President Bashar Assad, has already forged close cooperation with the governments of Iraq, Syria and Iran.

Moscow’s deal with Jordan could mark a shift in the alliances engaged in the Syrian conflict, according to a Reuters dispatch from Moscow.

The two foreign ministers reviewed international efforts to counter extremism and terrorism, with Judeh stressing that Jordan has and will always be at the forefront of such endeavours as terrorist organisations have become a threat to international peace and security, Petra added.

Judeh reiterated that extremist groups seek to distort the true image of Islam, referring to His Majesty’s statements that the war against terrorism and extremism is a battle Muslims and Arabs must fight to defend their religion and noble civilisation. 

Judeh and Lavrov also discussed Israel’s continued attacks and violations, with the former stressing that these assaults constitute a clear breach of international and humanitarian law and must be ceased immediately.

The minister once again stressed the Kingdom’s responsibility and custodianship over Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, and its ability to deploy diplomatic and legal measures. 

He also highlighted the importance of negotiations leading to a two-state solution and an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, based on the 1967 borders and according to international resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative, Petra reported.

The Russian minister commended the Kingdom’s pivotal role in tackling regional challenges and its efforts aimed to achieve peace and security in the region, voicing his country’s readiness to support these efforts and continue its cooperation with Jordan. 

To date, Russia has rejected Western calls for Assad to step down, saying Syria’s leadership can only be decided by the Syrian people via elections. In his clearest sign of support for the embattled leader so far, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted him in Moscow this week.

In a separate meeting on Friday, Judeh met with his Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kurz to discuss bilateral relations and recent developments in the region. 

The two ministers reviewed efforts to combat terrorism and extremism, developments in Jerusalem, the situation in Syria, and stressed the importance of a political solution to the crisis. They also discussed developments in various countries including Libya, Yemen and Iraq.

 

Kurz voiced his nation’s support for Jordan and its efforts under His Majesty’s leadership.

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