Jordan FM: ‘We do not accept Iranian meddling in the region’

Jordan FM: ‘We do not accept Iranian meddling in the region’
Ayman Al-Safadi, Jordan's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates.
Updated 20 January 2017

Jordan FM: ‘We do not accept Iranian meddling in the region’

Jordan FM: ‘We do not accept Iranian meddling in the region’

DAVOS, Switzerland: Jordan’s new foreign minister has said the country does not accept Iranian interference in Arab countries’ internal affairs, something he said can only exacerbate regional conflict.
Ayman Al-Safadi, minister of foreign affairs and expatriates, told the World Economic Forum in Davos that it is in the interest of Iran to work with its Arab neighbors. 
“We do not accept Iranian meddling in the region,” he said in response to a question posed by Arab News.
“Foreign intervention in Arab affairs — particularly negative foreign intervention in the internal affairs of Arab countries — is not going to produce any better conditions, it will only lead to conflict.
“So we definitely are against either Iranian — or anybody else — invention in the internal affairs of sovereign states in the Arab world.”
Al-Safadi — who was appointed as a minister last week — said that it is in the interest of Iran to pursue dialogue rather than expansionist ambitions.
“We definitely urge Iran to engage with the Arabs in a dialogue that would ultimately work together for the betterment of the lives of both people,” he said. “I think it’s in the interests of Iran to work with the Arabs toward creating common grounds for working together without trying to influence, or trying to expand or trying to further its ambitions.”
The minister was speaking on a panel discussion on the theme “Syria and Iraq: Ending the Conflict”.
Mehmet Simsek, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister, expressed hope over the upcoming Syria peace talks due to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan.
“The conflict has been a human tragedy on a colossal scale,” he said of the Syria crisis.
“It’s about time that we put an end to this conflict that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives, but also led to the displacement of the majority of the Syrian population.”
Simsek said that the talks have a greater chance of success because they are bringing the relevant parties to the table.
“There are high hopes from the Astana summit. (There are) not only hopes, but we can actually find maybe a durable or a lasting settlement,” he told the World Economic Forum.
“Russia of course has a significant say… Iran of course is heavily involved, and they’re going to be at the table. Turkey is there. The United States has been invited. So all the key players, regional and global, are going to be at the table. So the prospects of some sort of a beginning of a process that would lead to a more permanent settlement actually is high relative to previous talks in Geneva and elsewhere.
“The priority for us is to put an end to human tragedy, human suffering in Syria and Iraq… Astana can provide the beginning of this process in a meaningful way.”
Al-Safadi said that any agreement coming out of Astana “has to be comprehensive.”
“It should not be a cease-fire that covers only the northern part of Syria,” he said.
Majid Jafar, chief executive of Crescent Petroleum, said that it would likely take decades to rebuild Syria and return its GDP to that seen in before the conflict.
“$100 to $200 billion is actually nothing compared to how much has been spent on the war. But if it doesn’t come forward, then it’s huge,” he said.
“The needs are huge, and we need to be looking at sectors where you can get quick wins, such as energy, such as agriculture.… I do think the need is there to start now.”
Regarding the fight against Daesh in Syria and Iraq, panelist Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, said he forecast the new US government would take a stronger line.
“We’re expecting that this administration will be more interested in fighting terrorism, more than the previous administration… we need to wait and see,” he said.