Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi met in Jordan for the second time in two weeks after a series of telephone calls between them last month, according to political sources in Tel Aviv.
The sources described the talks as “positive,” adding that they were followed by meetings between Israeli and Jordanian teams to discuss the practical steps on the various issues addressed by the two ministers.
A Palestinian source in Ramallah said that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is aware of these meetings, which are in line with recent efforts by the quartet of Egypt, Jordan, Germany and France to move forward with Palestinian-Israeli negotiations on a political settlement based on the two-state solution.
These efforts have intensified in recent weeks, days before Joe Biden is sworn in as American president on January 20.
The source stressed that the efforts culminated on Monday with the quartet meeting of the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, France, and Germany, a forum known as the Munich Group, in Cairo.
The meeting between Ashkenazi and Safadi is part of these efforts, according to the source, adding that Amman condemned the Israeli government's practices “to impose a de-facto solution that sabotages the two-state solution, such as going ahead with settlement building.”
Since assuming his position as foreign minister, Ashkenazi has been working to improve the strained relations with Jordan, said a close associate to him in Tel Aviv. Ashkenazi is aware that there is a common supreme strategic interest for both Jordan and Israel.
Israel Hayom reported that the latest meeting between Ashkenazi and Safadi discussed regional strategic issues, strengthening economic cooperation and reducing tensions in bilateral ties.
It suggested that the talks between the two ministers focused on civil and economic ties and avoided contentious issues, noting that the meeting also included several ministers.
Ashkenazi had been invited to participate in the meeting in Cairo, but he apologized due to the two-week lockdown imposed by the government, which suggests that his meeting with Safadi took place at the end of December.
The newspaper said that despite the efforts of the Israeli FM, Safadi is pursuing a decisive stance with Israel, demanding that it put an end to provocations at al-Aqsa Mosque and fulfill its legal obligations as an occupying power, according to a statement issued by the Jordanian Foreign Ministry.