The Jordan Times
AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Wednesday held a summit meeting with US President Donald Trump that covered bilateral ties, regional and international issues.
Talks also covered enhancing cooperation in the fields of terrorism, the Mideast peace process, regional crises and their consequences, including Syria, Iraq and Libya.
During the talks preceding the press conference, His Majesty expressed Jordan's appreciation for the US support in various fields, especially economy, military and development, a Royal Court statement said.
The talks, attended by senior officials from both countries, touched on efforts to resume the Palestinian-Israeli peace process through launching effective negotiations on the basis of the two-state solution and the Arab Peace Initiative, which should end up in the establishment of an independent Palestinian state that lives side by side and in peace with Israel.
The King stressed the importance of maintaining the legitimate and historical status quo in Jerusalem to avoid further turmoil in the region.
The talks also covered the Syrian crisis and its repercussions on Jordan, which needs more support from the international community.
Earlier in the day, His Majesty and Her Majesty Queen Rania, Trump and First Lady Melania Trump held a meeting at the Oval Office where they discussed strategic relations between the two countries and the pivotal regional role of the Kingdom.
This is the second time His Majesty meets with Trump, following a February meeting on the sidelines of the Annual Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC.
At a joint press conference with US president following the talks, His Majesty expressed appreciation for the close relationship with Trump and American people, highlighting their “strategic partnership on so many levels to face the challenges of the future”.
“We’ve had a very good round of talks today, and I’m looking forward to continuing these discussions later on in our meetings after the press conference,” His Majesty said.
The King commended Trump’s “vision and holistic approach to all the challenges in the region”.
These, he said, are “not exclusive to the Arab region”, citing the threat to world security as a globally shared challenge.
“Terrorism has no border, no nationality, no religion,” the Monarch stated, calling for a joint and holistic approach, which he described as “crucial”.
Addressing Trump, the King said: “I am very delighted that you have the vision to be able to move in that direction, and I think that the world will be in a very good place as we move with all these challenges ahead.”
King Abdullah thanked Trump for his country’s support for Jordan, stressing the “key role” of the US in helping Jordan bear the brunt of the refugee crisis.
However, he highlighted the need for the international community to increase its support to Jordan, the Arab region, and the US in their efforts to restore global peace and security.
“The heavy lifting in fighting challenges has to be done by all Arab countries and the international community… to bring better days to all of us,” he stated.
Regarding Syria, he also condemned the gas attack, calling it a “testimony to the failure of the international diplomacy to find a solution to this crisis.”
“At the end of the day, it is civilians, women and children, that are paying the heaviest price,” His Majesty said.
He noted the need for a political solution to end the conflict and preserve Syria’s unity and territorial integrity.
Asked about the refugee influx inside Jordan, King Abdullah said that “the tremendous burden on our country goes along with a tremendous appreciation to the United States and the Western countries for being able to help us dealing with that issue.”
“Well, I think as the president pointed out, most, if not all, Syrian refugees actually want to go back to Syria. And what we’re working with the United States and the international community is to be able to stabilise the refugees in our country, give them the tools so that, as we’re working with the solutions in Syria, we have the ability to be able to send them back as a positive influence into their economies.”
He added: “And again, the president and the Europeans are being very forward-leaning in being able look after our host community — tremendous burden on our country, but again, tremendous appreciation to the United States and the Western countries for being able to help us deliver that.”
Citing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as “the core conflict in the region,” he underlined Trump’s “early engagement” aimed at bringing the Palestinians and Israelis together.”
Pointing out the outcomes of last month’s Jordan-hosted Arab Summit, he noted that it concluded with renewed commitment to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative and its “resounding resolution to offer peace to the Israelis and make them feel accepted in the neighbourhood”.
“All Arab countries agreed for the most comprehensive framework for lasting peace; it ensures statehood for the Palestinians, but also security, acceptance and normal ties for Israel with all Arab countries and, hopefully, all Islamic countries,” King Abdullah told reporters.
Asked about the battle for Raqqa, His Majesty underlined the “tremendous gains on the ground in Raqqa and Mosul. Again, I think, as the president alluded to, it’s very difficult to put timelines on this issue because the battle space is always very fluid. But I think that the war is being won on the ground”.
“Having said that, terrorists are on the move. They’ll be on the move inside of Iraq and inside of Syria, so that we have to make sure that we adapt our plans accordingly. And they move beyond borders, beyond our region and elsewhere. So as we and the administration have discussed, it’s this holistic approach: How do we fight them wherever they are? And I think that is the understanding.”
The King said that there is currently a move in the right direction “because the policy now is being charted out, and my discussions with the defence secretary and the foreign secretary allows us to be then able to decide how we adapt ourselves in the region to be able to come in line with international diplomacy”.
The US president condemned Tuesday’s “horrific” chemical attack in Syria against “innocent people”, calling it an “affront to humanity”. He added: “Such heinous action by the Assad regime cannot be tolerated.”
Trump, meanwhile, commended Jordanians’ “fighting ability and legendary hospitality”, describing His Majesty as “great warrior”.
“America is blessed with a thoughtful and determined partner,” like King Abdullah, the president said.
Trump praised the two countries’ historical ties and close friendship, calling Jordan “a valued partner”, with which he is “deeply committed to preserving a strong relationship”.
He also commended Jordan as “an advocate for the values of civilisation and a source of stability and hope”, reiterating the US long standing support for the Kingdom.
Citing the global fight against Daesh, Trump thanked Jordan for being a “staunch ally and partner,” honouring the memory of the many Jordanian soldiers who lost their lives in the fight against terror.
On Iran, Trump said that the Iran deal made by Obama administration was one of the worst deals ever.
“It should never have been made. It was totally one-sided against the United States, and, frankly, against much of the Middle East.”
“But I will do what I have to do with respect to the Iran deal.”
As for the Iranian militias in Syria, the US president said “they will have a message. You will see what the message will be”.