King Abdullah’s meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday, attended by HRH Crown Prince Hussein, covered bolstering Jordan’s strategic partnership with the US and addressed developments in the Middle East.
The King and Pompeo, who is on a tour of the region, discussed opportunities to expand cooperation in all fields, a Royal Court statement said.
His Majesty expressed Jordan’s appreciation for the support provided by the US to several development programmes, enabling the Kingdom to face economic challenges resulting from regional crises.
Secretary Pompeo affirmed his country’s commitment to developing the partnership and cooperation with Jordan and continuing work to enhance security and stability in the region.
Discussions also covered the conference that will be held in London next month to support Jordan’s economy and promote investments. The King said he looks forward to active US participation in the conference.
A number of regional issues and crises in the region were also discussed, particularly the developments in Syria and the importance of reaching a political solution that would preserve the unity of Syria and its people, and guarantee the safe return of refugees.
Turning to the Palestinian issue, His Majesty reaffirmed the importance of reaching a just and lasting peace that ends the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on the two-state solution, noting the key role of the US in pushing the peace process forward.
The King also stressed the need to end Israeli escalations in Jerusalem and violations in Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif, according to the statement.
Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, Adviser to His Majesty and Director of the Office of His Majesty Manar Dabbas and US Chargé d’Affaires in Amman Jim Barnhart attended the meeting.
Safadi also held a separate one-on-one with the US official earlier in the day, with talks focusing on bilateral relations and endeavours to strengthen them at all levels, and covered several regional issues and ways to overcome them, a Foreign Ministry statement said.
In a joint press conference, following the meeting, Safadi welcomed Pompeo to Jordan in what he described as a “timely visit”, adding that the two had “a thorough discussion on a host of very important regional issues that are key to our common objective of achieving Middle East stability, peace and prosperity”.
“The secretary and I had a fruitful conversation on advancing our historical partnership. Our cooperation in economic areas, trade, intelligence and military fields is exemplary. We are keen on developing our ties further,” Safadi was quoted as saying in the statement.
The minister added that the US has been “a true friend and ally to the Kingdom”.
The five-year economic assistance programme under the MoU on the strategic partnership between the two countries — the first under US President Donald Trump — has been instrumental in helping the Kingdom tackle its economic challenges, including the one of hosting 1.3 million Syrians, he pointed out.
“The Palestinian-Israeli conflict was strongly on our agenda today. Its resolution is key to achieving the comprehensive peace that we all seek. The stalemate in peace efforts is dangerous, and the creation of political horizons is imperative,” Safadi added.
The only path, he continued, is the two-state solution, which will guarantee the emergence of an independent Palestinian state, along the pre- 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital, living in peace, side-by-side a secure and accepted Israel, in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative.
Safadi and Pompeo also discussed efforts to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis. “We had a thorough conversation on future coordination in light of the US decision to withdraw US forces from Syria,” the minister noted.
“We will continue to consult on how to achieve progress towards a political solution on the basis of UNSC Resolution 2254, that preserves the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Syria, that Syrians accept, and that restores to Syria its security, stability, leads to the departure of all foreign forces from Syria and allows for the return of refugees,” Safadi said.
In light of the US decision to withdraw troops from Syria, both sides discussed the area of Tanf, which hosts a US military base near the Jordan and Iraq border, with the two officials agreeing on taking measures to ensure the security of the border, and deal with the Rukban encampment, which they agreed “must be de-established”.
Trilateral Jordanian-US-Russian agreements are necessary to achieve these objectives, Safadi added.
“The enduring defeat of Daesh in Syria is a key common objective. The US-led coalition has made great progress towards defeating this evil,” the foreign minister stressed.
“We look forward to continuing to work together as solid allies and partners, in pursuit of a Middle East free from crises and full of opportunities, where peace and cooperation prevail, and where regional relations are based on non-interference in the internal affairs of others and are in conformity with international law,” he said.
On Iran, the minister said that all have problems with Tehran’s expansion policies in the region, adding that Jordan wants good relations with all based on respecting other countries’ sovereignty; otherwise, there will be a problem with their policies.
In response to a question on the repercussions of the US withdrawal from Syria, Safadi said that Amman and Washington are strong allies that will continue coordination on the issue and address any developments that may surface, in a way that can preserve the interests of both countries.
For his part, Pompeo expressed happiness for visiting the Kingdom for the second time, as the first country in his current regional tour.
The secretary expressed the Trump administration’s commitment to working with Jordan on several priorities.
He also said that the US is committed to supporting the security and stability of the Kingdom, which is a “main partner in the region”.
Pompeo commended the Jordanian efforts in hosting Syrian refugees and bearing the repercussions of their residence. He also reiterated the US commitment to working with Jordan in combating terrorism.