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Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat
Amman - Mohammed Khair al-Rawashdeh

Amman Meeting Discusses Return of Syrian Refugees from Neighboring Countries

The Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia, Faisal bin Farhan, Iraq Fouad Hussein, Egypt Sameh Shoukry, Jordan Ayman Safadi, and Syria Faisal Mekdad, during the meeting in Amman (AFP)

A new consultative meeting on Syria, held Monday in Amman, discussed the return of Syrian refugees from neighboring countries and methods for the Syrian state to extend its control over its territory.

The meeting included Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia, Faisal bin Farhan, Iraq, Fouad Hussein, Egypt, Sameh Shoukry, Jordan, Ayman Safadi, and Syria, Faisal Mekdad.

The Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Ayman Safadi, confirmed that the meeting marks the beginning of a series of meetings to resolve the crisis in Syria in line with Security Council Resolution 2254, addressing all consequences of the humanitarian, political, and security situation.

Safadi stressed that the priority of ending the crisis is only through a political solution that preserves Syria's unity, cohesion, and sovereignty, meets the aspirations of its people, and contributes to the promotion of conditions conducive to the voluntary and safe return of refugees, the departure of all illegal foreign forces from Syria, realizing national interests and the restoration of Syria's security, stability, and role.

The FM stressed it was up to the member states to decide on the return of Syria to the Arab League and declined to comment when asked about a precise date for Syria's possible return to the league.

The foreign ministers expressed their appreciation for the positive engagement shown by the Syrian foreign minister in examining the initiatives and steps presented during the meeting.

According to the final statement of the consultative meeting, it was agreed to form two separate joint political-security working groups within a month between Syria, Jordan, and Iraq to identify the sources of drug production and smuggling in Syria and the entities that organize, manage, and carry out cross-border smuggling operations, with Jordan and Iraq.

The ministers agreed to form a technical team of experts to follow up on the meeting outcomes and identify the next steps of this targeted path to address the solution to the crisis in Syria and its repercussions.

The Jordanian minister confirmed that the meeting launched a new political track, "a specific agenda" that contributes to resolving the crisis, meeting the people's aspirations, and combating terrorism, through a leading Arab role in determining the Syrian crisis.

In the closing statement, the participants agreed to resume the constitutional commission's work as soon as possible in the context of political steps to achieve comprehensive national reconciliation.

The ministers said that countries participating in the meeting would work with other countries and the international community to meet the positive steps of the Syrian government and build on what has been accomplished, moving towards a political solution.

They noted that this would realize national reconciliation, allow Syria to embark on reconstruction towards a safe future that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people and their right to live in peace in their country, and restore Syria's regional role.

The officials called for enhancing cooperation between the Syrian government, concerned countries, and the UN in developing a comprehensive strategy to strengthen security and combat terrorism in all its forms, to end the presence of terrorist organizations in Syrian territory, and neutralize their capacity to threaten regional and international security.

They agreed to support Syria and its institutions in any legitimate efforts to extend control over their territory and to impose the rule of law, end the presence of armed and terrorist groups in Syrian territory and stop foreign interventions.

The meeting resulted in an agreement on practical steps to address the security challenges associated with border security by establishing effective coordination mechanisms between the Syrian military and security agencies and their counterparts in neighboring countries.

The final statement emphasized that refugees' voluntary and safe return to their country is a top priority, and steps must be taken to begin its immediate implementation.

They agreed to boost cooperation between the Syrian government and refugee host countries and coordinate with relevant UN bodies to organize refugees' voluntary and safe return and end their suffering.

It should also consider providing Arab and international contributions while clarifying the measures it will take to facilitate their return, including their inclusion in general pardon decrees.

They also agreed to intensify work with the international community and the UN to accelerate the implementation of early recovery projects, including in areas where refugees are expected to return.

It should also lead to improved infrastructure to provide a decent living for refugees who voluntarily return to Syria.

The final statement announced the launch of cooperation between the Syrian and Jordanian governments, in coordination with relevant UN bodies, to organize the voluntary return of some 1,000 Syrian refugees residing in Jordan.

The foreign ministers emphasized the importance of enhancing cooperation to advance efforts to search for missing persons with all parties and relevant international organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, in coordination with the Syrian government.

The ministers agreed that similar steps should be taken, as appropriate, to resolve the issue of internally displaced people, including the Rukban camp.

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