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We have to be realistic and aware of challenges — King

By JT - Feb 06,2017 - Last updated at Feb 06,2017

His Majesty King Abdullah meets with media figures in Amman on Monday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Monday met with columnists and media figures for a conversation focused on local, regional and international developments, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

During the meeting, held at Al Husseiniya Palace, His Majesty spoke about his latest visit to the US and his meeting with President Donald Trump, several senior officials and lawmakers, describing the visit as “successful”.

He expressed optimism that the Jordanian-US relationship will be enhanced, noting that the US side stressed the importance of supporting Jordan's role in the region over the coming years as it continues to rise to challenges .

The King said that the meetings he held with US officials and legislators were useful, noting that President Trump has invited him for an official visit soon.

He noted that the meetings focused on regional developments, especially the Syrian crisis.  The peace process between the Palestinians and the Israelis and the possible repercussions of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem were discussed, the King said , adding that the US administration respects Jordan’s stance in dealing with various challenges.

The King said that Jordan, invited by Russia, has joined the Astana conference on Syria as an observer, highlighting the Russian role in solving the Syrian crisis with international cooperation (see separate story).

He said that he is optimistic about a new era of positive Russian-US relations.

King Abdullah stressed the importance of having the ceasefire in place in southern Syria as that would ensure security, as parties are working for a political solution based on the Geneva conferences and efforts are under way to eradicate terrorist groups such as Daesh.

The need to eliminate the khawarij (outlaws of Islam) goes beyond Syria and Iraq, the King said, calling anew for a holistic strategy to counter terrorism all over the world. He added that the fight against terror is not only a military one, but is also an ideological, cultural and media war.

As Trump’s so-called “Muslim ban” dominates international headlines, His Majesty said that western countries should avoid policies that would marginalise Muslim expatriates and communities.

He also stressed the importance of resolving the Palestinian issue, as what happens in Palestine and Jerusalem could play into the hands of terrorist recruiters and provoke Muslims around the world.

On local affairs, His Majesty said that Jordan’s resilience lies in the cohesion of its internal front and understanding security, economic and social challenges, which must be confronted by all Jordanians, adding that Jordan can overcome those challenges.

The King expressed his confidence in the Jordan Armed Forces- Arab Army, the security agencies and the Jordanian people’s vigilance, adding that work is ongoing to upgrade the capacity of the army and the security agencies.

Many of the domestic economic challenges are caused by regional crises, he said, stressing the ability of the Kingdom to deal with them through the creation of new opportunities, such as finding new markets for Jordanian exports and building on promising sectors.

In light of the economic challenges, the King said he had directed the government to protect low- and medium-income Jordanians, noting that the government is working to implement economic correction programmes to reduce public debt despite challenges and the slow growth.

During the meeting, King Abdullah asserted the state’s will to combat corruption at all levels, adding that it is not possible to criticise favouritism in theory and practice it in real life, and that he has directed the government to take the necessary measures towards that end.

The meeting also addressed the role of the media in dealing with national issues, where the King stressed the importance of professional, objective and responsible media that disseminates clear and accurate information, in addition to the media’s role in entrenching the value of moderation and challenging extremist ideologies.

The upcoming Arab summit, to be hosted by Jordan in March, will see the Syrian crisis, the Palestinian-Israeli peace process and Jerusalem on the top of its agenda, King Abdullah said.

His Majesty praised ties with Saudi Arabia, highlighting his relationship with Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.

He expressed his enthusiasm for King Salman’s visit to Jordan next month, which will enhance bilateral relations and cooperation in various fields.

As for Iraq, the Monarch said that building a strong, prosperous, stable and unified Iraq is a necessity for the region, noting that the Jordanian role is appreciated by all Iraqis.

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