AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah started his official visit to Washington on Tuesday with a series of meetings with Speaker of the US House of Representatives John Boehner, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce and committee members, and leaders of the House Democratic minority headed by Nancy Pelosi.
At the meetings, King Abdullah discussed the strategic relations between Jordan and the US and ways to develop ties, expressing his appreciation to the foreign affairs committee, particularly the sub-committee for the Middle East and North Africa, for its support to Jordan as it endorsed a bill to boost aid to the Kingdom in the military and defence fields. The aid includes privileges that put Jordan among a list of countries eligible to receive hi-tech defence systems, a Royal Court statement said.
The talks also focused on cooperation between Jordan and the US to counter terrorist organisations, with His Majesty emphasising the vitality of action within an Arab framework and in cooperation with other neighbours to stand up to face terrorism and extremist ideology, which, he said, pose a threat to all with no exception.
During the meetings, King Abdullah underlined Jordan’s efforts to support Iraq’s security and stability, stressing the need to increase cooperation to counter terrorist groups. He also highlighted the importance of Egypt’s role in achieving regional stability and the need to enable Cairo to play such a pivotal role.
They also discussed the Syrian crisis and ways to empower the Kingdom to execute economic plans, achieve sustainable development and enhance its capacity to address the Syrian refugee problem.
The King also underlined Jordan’s contribution to efforts aimed to revive peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians based on the two-state formula, highlighting the Kingdom’s endeavours to protect the Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem and support Jerusalemites to achieve their rights, as part of Jordan’s commitments under the Hashemite custodianship of the city’s holy shrines.
For their part, the congressional leaders praised the “deep and historic” friendship between Jordan and the US and expressed keenness to develop ties further.
They also commended the Jordanian role in addressing a diversity of regional challenges, as the Kingdom contributes to peacemaking between the Palestinians and the Israelis, a comprehensive solution to the Syrian crisis, and efforts to help the Iraqi people enhance its stability and security, along with Amman’s participation in regional and international efforts to fight terrorism and extremism.
Royal Court Chief Fayez Tarawneh, Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, King’s Office Director Jafar Hassan and Jordanian Ambassador to the US Alia Hatoug Bouran also attended the meetings.
In an interview with the Jordan News Agency, Petra, Royce said the discussions with His Majesty covered the humanitarian situation and the regional crisis resulting from the conflict in Syria.
He added that the Kingdom has exerted a lot of efforts to help Syrian refugees, but in the long term, he said, there is a need for a comprehensive vision to identify what international institutions can do to offer assistance to address the Syrian refugee issue.
Royce also noted that the meeting tackled the efforts exerted in fighting terrorist organisations, and the importance of bipartisan efforts in Congress to take measures that support this drive.
He said that King Abdullah is among the most influential leaders who are trying to find solutions for issues of concern for the peoples of the region.