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Jordan pushing Arab peace plan to resolve Syrian war

According to a source close to the situation, Jordan indicated ahead of a meeting on Friday to discuss Syria’s readmission to the Arab League that it was proposing a comprehensive Arab peace plan that may resolve the disastrous consequences of the over-decade-long Syrian conflict.

The plan will be discussed at a meeting in Jeddah hosted by Saudi Arabia and attended by foreign ministers from Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to discuss launching a leading Arab role after years of failed international efforts to end the bloody conflict, he added.

Syria’s membership in the Arab League was suspended in response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s violent assault on peaceful protestors.

According to Reuters, the kingdom proposed forming a joint Arab committee that “would directly engage the Syrian government on a detailed plan to end the conflict.”

“The detailed roadmap deals with all the key issues…and resolving the crisis so that Syria can restore its role in the region and rejoin the Arab League,” he continued.

Jordan was among the first Arab states to criticize Assad’s conduct in the horrific struggle, saying when he took power nearly two years ago that there was a need to break the conflict’s impasse.

The Jordanian-inspired blueprint was based on a “step-by-step” approach to ending the crisis and eventually allowing Syria to rejoin the Arab League, according to the source, who added that his country shelters 1.3 million Syrian refugees who are still reeling from the disaster.
The road map was critical in addressing the “humanitarian, security, and political consequences of the conflict,” according to the senior source.

The war, which brought in various foreign forces and split the country, killed hundreds of thousands of people.

Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi discussed the peace plan with Assad at their February meeting in Damascus, the first such visit by a top Jordanian official since the Syrian conflict began.

Shunned by the West, Abu Dhabi, and Oman welcomed Assad as normalization gained traction elsewhere in the region in the aftermath of a terrible earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria.

Saudi Arabia, which has long opposed normalization with Assad, stated that following reconciliation with Iran, Syria’s important regional ally, a fresh strategy with Damascus was required.

In a historic visit on Wednesday, Riyadh invited Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad to negotiations, and both nations promised to reopen embassies as quickly as possible.

Jordan shared the proposal with its partner, the United States, and major European countries, according to the official, who added that a big issue to be addressed was the repatriation of millions of refugees who fled Syria, many of whom fear retaliation if they return.

The official stated that gaining Western backing was critical to ending the crisis and lifting US and European sanctions on Syria, allowing for major reconstruction of the war-torn country and meeting its urgent humanitarian needs.
The strategy also calls for Damascus to account for the fate of tens of thousands of people who went missing during the conflict, many of whom are thought to have died in detention centers, according to Western rights groups.

Jordan and Arab governments were concerned about the existence of “sectarian militias,” a reference to pro-Iranian Shi’ite militias commanded by Hezbollah. Syria would also need to take efforts to end a multimillion-dollar drug trafficking trade from its southern borders to Jordan and the Gulf, which both Amman and Riyadh blame on pro-Iranian forces. Syria strongly denies any connection.

“We want this crisis to end; restoring security and stability in Syria is critical for regional security,” said a senior official.

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