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His Majesty holds summit with Obama

By JT - Dec 06,2014 - Last updated at Dec 06,2014

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Friday held a summit meeting at the White House with US President Barack Obama, which was followed by announcing the renewal of a grant deal worth $1 billion annually for another three years, a Royal Court statement said.

Meanwhile, Washington agreed to issue a third loan guarantee, which allows Jordan to borrow from international financiers at low interest rates.

The summit addressed Mideast developments, especially peace efforts to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the global anti-terror drive, along with the Syrian crisis and the situation in Iraq.

Following the one-on-one meeting, His Majesty and Obama held an expanded meeting attended by HRH Crown Prince Hussein and senior officials.

After the King’s meeting with Obama, the two leaders held a press conference during which the Monarch thanked the US for its budget support “which comes at a very difficult time… of us hosting almost 1.5 million Syrian refugees”.

 

Following is the full text of the King’s press remarks:

 

“If you allow me Mr President, thank you very much, on behalf of all of us in Jordan to thank you, the American people, Congress for as you mentioned the very gracious support to Jordan the budget support and the MoU which comes at a very difficult time as you mentioned of us hosting almost 1.5 million Syrian refugees almost 20 per cent of our population.

 This will have a tremendous impact on Jordanians of all levels, so from all of us a very gracious thank you to you and your people for this very timely support of our country.

Obviously Jordanians and Americans have been standing shoulder to shoulder against extremism for many years but to a new level through this coalition against ISIL and our troops are very proud to be working together in combating ISIL in Syria and Iraq. We are working together to support our friends in Iraq and the Iraqi government, and this is something that we will continue to do with great pride. As the president alluded to that, we have a long-term commitment to bring a comprehensive solution for the Syrian crisis. I believe that the process is moving in the right direction. We had to spend some time on seeing how we can move the process forward. 

We’d also like to thank the president on his continued efforts to bring the Israelis and the Palestinians closer together because obviously we need to be able to find a solution between the Israelis and the Palestinians as we’ve moved now to this global challenge of extremism that all of us face, Muslim, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, all of us together against this fight against evil. 

This is now a generational fight where all of us are fighting extremism all over the world and all of us need to bind together as a united front. So we are very proud of this relationship with the United States, and as the president alluded to, it’s not just over ISIL, it’s actually across our region and am very proud of this relationship, very proud of our personal friendship and of the president’s vision to alleviate the suffering of the region and his steadfast commitment to Muslims across the world to fight this extremist fight.”

For his part, President Obama said: “It’s a great of pleasure once again to welcome my friend His Majesty King Abdullah and the delegation from Jordan here to the Oval Office. Jordan is one of our most effective and capable and a steadfast partner not only in the Middle East but around the world and my personal friendship with His Majesty is something that I greatly appreciate. I always enjoy talking to him both for his honesty and his good council. 

We had an extensive discussion about some of the challenges that we face in the region. At the top of the list obviously was our effort to debilitate and ultimately destroy ISIL both in Iraq and in Syria. Jordan has been a rock solid partner in that coalition to defeat ISIL and the Jordanian military has been working side by side with US and other militaries from around the world in making slow, but steady, progress, providing assistance to Baghdad, providing assistance to the moderate opposition inside of Syria and begin to roll back some of the gains that ISIL has made. We recognise that it’s a long term and extremely complex challenge but one that we feel optimistic that we’ll succeed at.

I expressed my strong gratitude to His Majesty for all the efforts his men and women in uniform have made. We also talked about the fact that this is not just a military campaign but also a diplomatic, and a social and a political effort and it’s a matter of winning over hearts and minds and isolating the extremist in the region and I think Jordan is an important leader in that and His Majesty shared with me some of the ideas [to ensure] that the overwhelming majority of peace-loving Muslims are able to… isolate and ultimately eradicate this strain that has done so much in damage in the region.

 We had a chance to discuss some of the other regional issues that are of great importance. We share concern about continuing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, and Jordan has been a strong partner in working with us to trying to broker a genuine two-state solution and peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. Obviously in the aftermath of Gaza and some of the challenges in Jerusalem, the environment has not been conducive for the sort of peace initiative that we would like to see, but we are going to continue to share ideas, recognising that ultimately what is going to be good for the Israelis and the Palestinians is that they have to live together side by side in peace and security and for the Palestinians to have their own state.

I briefed His Majesty about our negotiations with Iran and indicated to him that we’d prefer no deal to a bad deal but that we’d continue to hold up the possibility that we can eliminate the rise of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon and give Iran the opportunity to join the community of nations. [Whether] Iran seizes that opportunity or not is something that we have not yet been able to determine but we will keep on trying in the next several months and we will continue to keep Jordan [abreast]. And we had a chance to discuss some of the important security issues that extend beyond Syria and Iraq…

Because Jordan is such an important partner, because they are carrying such an important burden including accommodating hundreds of thousands of Syrians who have been displaced because of the Syrian civil war, I am very proud of the continued support that we continue to provide Jordan. A small, resource-poor country, but one that consistently steps up and meets its responsibilities… we are going to continue with an MoU, but we are going to be increasing the amount to a billion dollars a year and that we are going to be providing an additional loan guarantee all of which is designed to reinforce the sort of political and economic reforms that are taking place inside of Jordan so that not only can the people of Jordan prosper and be self-sufficient, but they could continue to provide an anchor for important efforts that enhance US national security over the long haul. 

So Your Majesty you are a great friend and partner. We very much appreciate the visit. We wish you and your family well. His Majesty’s son is a student here. I understand that he has just finished classes so hopefully he’ll be able to enjoy a good holiday season… It’s wonderful to see you.”

Earlier Friday, His Majesty met with US Vice President Joe Biden, and discussed with him a wide range of regional issues.

According to a White House statement, “they spoke about the ongoing international effort to degrade and defeat ISIL [the Islamic State terror group]. They agreed on the need for sustained international support to meet the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people, as well as those of the communities hosting them in Jordan”.

Biden praised the King’s “statesmanship in addressing tensions over holy sites in Jerusalem”.

On Thursday, the King met an array of US intellectuals and academic figures and presented them with his insights into the latest developments in the region, including the Middle East peace push and the war on terrorism, according to the Royal Court.

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