Biden meets Jordan's King Abdullah to discuss Middle East issues

Tuesday, 2021-07-20 07:01:33
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US President Joe Biden meets with Jordan's King Abdullah II and Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, US July 19, 2021. (Photo: Reuters)
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President Joe Biden held Oval Office talks on Monday with Jordan's King Abdullah, a key US ally in a volatile region, in the first of three face-to-face meetings expected soon with Middle East leaders.

Abdullah met Biden for the first time since the US president took office in January. Biden called the king a "good, loyal, decent friend."

"You've always been there, and we will always be there for Jordan," Biden told reporters during a picture-taking session. He said he wanted to hear about developments in the Middle East from the king.

"You live in a tough neighborhood," he said.

Abdullah said his region has many challenges. "You can always count on me, my country and many of our colleagues in the region," he told Biden.

In the meeting, Biden announced the delivery of more than 500,000 COVID-19 vaccines to Jordan and the two leaders discussed the US-Jordan defense relationship and Syria's humanitarian crisis, the White House said in a statement.

"President Biden commended the important role Jordan plays in the wider stability of the region," it said

They also discussed Middle East peace efforts and Biden voiced his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Jordan's engagement with the new Israeli government, the White House said.

Tensions remain high following the 11-day war in May between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza.

Abdullah plays a unique role in the Middle East, seen by US officials as a moderate and pragmatic leader who can play a mediating role.

He is the first Middle East leader to visit the Biden White House, to be followed on July 26 by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. US and Israeli officials are working on scheduling a meeting soon between Biden and new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who recently replaced Benjamin Netanyahu.

Biden has offered full support to Abdullah, who was joined at the White House by his wife, Queen Rania.

Abdullah will have a working breakfast with Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday at the vice president's residence. He will also meet Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the State Department.