Jordanian king receives first phone call in ten years from al-Assad in Syria | News

Syria says the two leaders discussed bilateral relations, “strengthening cooperation in the interest of the two countries and people”.

Jordanian King Abdullah II received a call from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday, the palace said, the first conversation between the two leaders after a decade of tension over the war in Syria.

The call comes days after Amman open its border with Syria, amid efforts to boost cooperation between the two countries, which are facing challenging economic conditions.

The Jordanian royal court said the leaders discussed relations between the “brotherly countries and ways to improve cooperation between them”.

Abdullah reaffirmed his country’s support for “efforts to preserve Syria’s sovereignty, stability, territorial integrity and population”.

Syrian state news agency SANA said al-Assad called Abdullah to discuss bilateral relations and “strengthen cooperation in the interest of the two countries and people”.

The call is part of another thaw in relations between the two neighbors following the Syrian war, which killed at least 350,209 people, according to the United Nations.

Warming up ties

The Syrian defense minister visited Jordan at the end of last month. A 10-year deal to transport Egyptian natural gas through Jordan, Syria and Lebanon was also revived in September.

Syria was suspended from the 22-member bloc of the Arab League in November 2011, months after the conflict was sparked by the brutal suppression of anti-government protests.

Several regional powers, betting on the demise of al-Assad’s regime, have suspended diplomatic relations with Damascus. But Jordan maintained relations with Syria, albeit limited.

Amman hosted opposition groups backed by the West and took in hundreds of thousands of refugees.

Arab and Western countries generally blamed al-Assad for the deadly crackdown on the Arab Spring protests, and supported the opposition in the early days of the conflict, which displaced millions of people.

Syria is subject to sanctions imposed by the United States and many Western countries.

Jordanian businessmen had largely shunned dealings with Syria after the 2019 Caesar Act — the toughest U.S. sanctions to date banning foreign companies from trading with Damascus.

The tide of the war turned in late 2015 when Russia threw its military weight behind al-Assad.

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