September 5, 2018 / 1:45 PM / 3 months ago

Syrian minister says no reason to open crossing with Jordan yet

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syria’s economy minister said he sees no reason yet to re-open the Nassib crossing with Jordan, Lebanon’s NNA news agency said on Wednesday after he met Lebanon’s industry minister who is pushing for it to be opened.

The Nassib crossing was closed in 2015 when captured by rebels, cutting a major transit route for hundreds of trucks a day transporting goods between Turkey and the Gulf, and between Lebanon and the Gulf.

Those trade routes had already been disrupted by Syria’s seven-year war, hurting regional economies.

Lebanon’s economy minister told Reuters in July the crossing was “a vital artery” for the Lebanese economy and a deal should be reached to re-open it.

“Our study of the opening of the Nassib crossing found there is currently no big value for Syrian products and the issue needs further study,” Syrian Economy Minister Samer Khalil said after meeting Lebanese Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan in Damascus, NNA said.

Hassan said opening the crossing would help Lebanese exporters.

The crossing’s recapture by Syrian forces in July was a central goal of a campaign launched last June by the Syrian government and Russian forces to regain control of rebel-held parts of the southwest.

Reporting by Dahlia Nehme; Editing by Lisa Barrington and Alison Williams

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