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Jerusalem key to peace — King

King holds talks with Pence over Jerusalem, region

By JT - Jan 22,2018 - Last updated at Jan 22,2018

His Majesty King Abdullah meets with US Vice President Mike Pence at Al Husseiniya Palace on Sunday, in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Rania and US second lady Karen Pence (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Sunday held talks with US Vice President Mike Pence at Al Husseiniya Palace which focused on Jerusalem and the strategic partnership between Jordan and the US, according to a Royal Court statement. 

The meeting, which continued over a lunch banquet, was attended by Her Majesty Queen Rania, US second lady Karen Pence, and senior officials
from both countries.

The King voiced his appreciation of the US for its "historical friendship and support to Jordan throughout the years". 

"You have been a partner that has always stood with our country and our people through very difficult times, and I just wanted to express how much we appreciate the continuous support that we get from your country," His Majesty said.

“I am glad we are seeing you here today, especially when it comes at a very critical point in our region,” the King told the vice president.

“Our wide-ranging discussions today I believe are timely, and as always — as friends and partners — we will be candid and frank with each other,” His Majesty added.

The King noted that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a destabilising factor for Jordan and the entire region, adding, “that is why we were encouraged by the president’s early commitment to bring a solution to this decades-long conflict”.

The King noted that he had continuously voiced concerns regarding a US decision on Jerusalem that does not come as a result of a comprehensive settlement to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict over the past year in his meetings in Washington.

“Again, for us, Jerusalem is precious to Muslims and Christians, as it is to Jews, and key to region’s peace and stability,” the Monarch underlined.

His Majesty stressed the need to overcome “rising frustrations and rebuild the trust” especially on the mechanisms to move ahead with the two-state solution that can lead to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the June 4, 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side with a secure and recognised Israel in accordance with international laws and the Arab Peace Initiative.

“We understand the challenges and we hope the US will reach out and find the right way to move forward in these challenging circumstances. We believe that with all the right intentions and the support of the international community, this is extremely possible. And we will work very closely with our friends in this endeavour,” His Majesty said.

Addressing Pence, the King said: “Again, I want to reiterate our historic partnership; it has always been underpinned by the friendship between our two countries and our mutual interests in advancing peace, stability and prosperity in the region.”

His Majesty highlighted the solid bilateral relations and joint commitment and partnership in the fight against terrorism.

For his part, Pence expressed his gratitude for the warm hospitality and happiness for visiting Jordan.

“I bring greetings from your friend, President Donald Trump, who asked me to come to Jordan to talk about a broad range of issues in security and prosperity and regional issues with you, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to do that,” Pence said. 

The vice president also underlined the decades old strategic partnership between Washington and Amman.

“We are here to reaffirm our friendship and our partnership, and our great respect for you and for the role that the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has played in this region and across the globe,” Pence said.

Pence expressed admiration for His Majesty’s leadership and the efforts of the Jordanian military in the fight against terrorism. 

“Together, with the American military and the Iraqi military and our coalition partners, we’ve made dramatic progress in the battle against ISIS [Daesh]; driving ISIS out of Iraq, and driving ISIS out of the capital of their so-called caliphate of Raqqa. And you can be assured that we will continue to work closely with you as we drive ISIS out of existence together.”  

The vice president voiced Washington’s commitment to “Syria and a presence in Syria not only to defeat ISIS, but to restrain the malign influence of Iran and other efforts in the region that would add to further destabilisation”.

Citing President Trump’s direction to allocate more than $110 million to rebuild Christian and religious minority communities in Iraq and Syria, Pence expressed US’ gratitude for His Majesty’s commitment to religious diversity and religious freedom.

“We look forward to working with you to ensure that all the peoples of all different faiths can find a way forward, and recover after these years of conflict.” 

Pence added: “President Trump made a historic decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but as he also made clear in that decision, that we are committed to continue to respect Jordan’s role as the Custodian of holy sites; that we take no position on boundaries and final status — those are subject to negotiation. And, as I’ve made clear to you and the president made clear to the world, the United States of America remains committed, if the parties agree, to a two-state solution.”

 “We are committed to restarting the peace process, and Jordan does now and has always played a central role in facilitating peace in the region, and we look forward to your counsel and to your direct and central involvement in that process in the days ahead,” the vice president said.


Also during the meeting, the King and Pence discussed the role of UNRWA in which His Majesty stressed the importance of maintaining continued support to the relief agency’s role in providing education, health and relief services to Palestinian refugees.

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