Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez met in Madrid on Monday to address the issue of Syrian refugees and emphasised the importance of “favourable conditions” for their safe return to their homeland. The meeting between the two leaders was held at the invitation of Spain, with King Abdullah accompanied by Queen Rania during their official visit.
The royal couple attended a lunch hosted by King Filipe and Queen Letizia as part of their visit to Spain. The discussions centred around the significant number of Syrian refugees currently residing in Jordan, most of whom fled the central and southern regions of Syria, the birthplace of the 2011 uprising against President Bashar Al Assad. In 2014, Jordan closed its border to Syrian refugees due to the rise of militant groups, transforming the conflict into a brutal civil war.
While Spain has received a smaller number of Syrian refugees compared to Turkey and other parts of Europe, both countries agreed on the need for favourable circumstances that would ensure the safe and voluntary return of refugees while preserving their dignity. The joint communique issued by Jordan and Spain also highlighted their commitment to supporting Syrians who were forced to flee their homes and helping them find long-term solutions while upholding their basic rights.
Furthermore, the leaders stressed the urgency of intensifying efforts towards a political solution in accordance with UN Resolution 2254, adopted in 2015. This resolution advocates for a political transition in the Syrian civil war, the release of prisoners, and other measures aimed at curbing authoritarian rule and designated terrorist groups in the country.
During the visit, Spanish and Jordanian officials signed agreements to enhance cooperation in the judicial sector and recognise maritime certificates issued by both countries. This meeting between the monarchs follows the recent attendance of King Filipe’s parents, former king Juan Carlos and former queen Sophia, at the wedding of King Abdullah’s son, Crown Prince Hussein, in Amman earlier this month.
Jordan, with an income per capita of $4,100 in 2021, relies heavily on international aid, primarily provided by the US. However, European countries also play a significant role in supporting the kingdom, including funding for local communities accommodating Syrian refugees.
Image Credit: Jordanian News Agency on Twitter