A parliamentary delegation's recent visit to Syria was a "complete success" on all fronts, veteran MP Abdul Karim Dughmi said, adding that a "brotherly atmosphere" prevailed during their talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad and Syrian officials and lawmakers.
Dughmi, a politician of pan-Arab nationalist leaning, headed the parliamentary delegation to Damascus last Monday for talks with Assad and other senior officials, in a first-of-its-kind visit to the crisis-hit northern neighbour since 2011.
In remarks to The Jordan Times on Sunday, Dughmi said that the delegation discussed with Assad bringing the Jordanian-Syrian relations to a level "as strong as they were before 2011", as well as Syria's return to the Arab League.
The lawmaker said that Jordanian-Syrian cooperation in the fields of trade, transport and tourism topped the delegation's discussions with the president and other Syrian officials, in addition to the issue of Jordanian prisoners in Syria.
"We had very brotherly discussions with President Assad, who began by conveying his greetings to His Majesty King Abdullah and all Jordanians, underlining his keenness on fostering strong relations with Jordan," Dughmi said.
The lawmaker said that the nine-member delegation discussed with the Syrian prime minister and lawmakers the reopening of the Ramtha/Daraa border crossing between the two countries, which has been shut for more than five years.
Jordan and Syria reopened the Jaber/Nasib border crossing in mid-October 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 MP said that Minister of Transport Walid Masri sent an official invitation to his Syrian counterpart to discuss several issues of mutual concern, mainly the reopening of the Ramtha/Daraa border crossing.
“We also discussed with the Syrian officials and lawmakers the voluntary return of Syrian refugees in Jordan to their country,” he said.
Stressing that Assad was in a “triumphant morale”, Dughmi said that the Syrian president was all the time “emphasising the pivotal regional role of Jordan and his country’s keenness on always maintaining excellent relations with the Kingdom”.
“Syria, especially from the south [to the borders with Jordan], was completely safe,” Dughmi said, adding that they were told by Syria that all major cities, including Aleppo, are safe as well, except for some pockets of terrorist groups scattered in Idlib, Deir Ezzor and east of the Euphrates.
In addition to Dughmi, the delegation comprised MPs Tareq Khouri, Khaled Abu Hassan, Qais Ziadin, Awad Zawaideh, Nidal Taani, Andre Hawari, Haitham Ziadin and Mustafa Yaghi.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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