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MPs discuss restoring transport, agriculture ties with Syria

By JT - Feb 11,2019 - Last updated at Feb 11,2019

AMMAN — A parliamentary delegation on Monday met Syrian Transport Minister Ali Hammoud in Damascus over activating transport, cargo and transit movement between the two countries.

"The Syrian transport minister pledged to look into the possibility of cutting the cost of transporting goods between Lebanon and Jordan via Syria to nearly half its current rate, in addition to forming a joint committee to study the issue," MP Tareq Khouri, head of the Jordanian-Syrian Friendship Committee, said.

MP Qais Ziadin, who is a member of the Jordanian delegation to Syria, stressed the importance of bolstering bilateral ties between the two countries to achieve the interests of both peoples, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Hammoud praised the distinguished efforts exerted by the Jordanian-Syrian Friendship Committee to foster relations between the two countries.

Discussions also went over resuming flights over the Syrian airspace, as well as the possibility of extending opening hours for the Jaber-Nassib crossing for a further two hours, in light of the high traffic it has been witnessing.

Jordan and its northern neighbour reopened the Jaber-Nasib border crossing on October 15, 2018, after passenger and cargo traffic was halted for more than three years as a result of the escalating violence in the Syrian town of Nasib, just across the border station, some 80km north of Amman.

The delegation also met with Syria’s Minister of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform Ahmad Al Qadri, and discussed the possibility of granting Jordanian farmers licences to export their products to Syria, as well as increasing agricultural trade exchange between the two countries.

Qadri promised to conduct a study on Syria’s agricultural import needs that can be supplied from the Kingdom and the possibility of granting licences for farmers based on the study’s outcomes, according to Petra.

Also on Monday, Khouri discussed with Feisal Miqdad, Syria’s deputy foreign minister, the issue of Jordanian prisoners in Syria, stressing the necessity of resolving the matter.

Miqdad promised to find a solution to the issue as soon as possible, Petra added.

Khouri stressed the significance of parliamentary diplomacy and its role in restoring ties, referring to parliamentary efforts that led to the invitation of Speaker of the Syrian People’s Assembly Hammoudeh Sabbagh by Lower House Speaker Atef Tarawneh to participate in the Arab Parliamentary Union conference, slated to be held in Amman in March.

The current parliamentary delegation to Syria is the second since the conflict began, with the first, headed by MP Abdul Karim Dughmi, visiting Syria in November 2018, during which they met with Syrian President Bashar Assad and Syrian officials and lawmakers and discussed restoring the Jordanian-Syrian relations as well as Syria’s return to the Arab League.

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