Jordan’s King Abdullah said with Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday that he was going to continue to voice his objections to U.S. plans to relocate the embassy to Jerusalem because the city is “key to enabling Muslims to effectively fight some of our root causes of radicalization.”
The monarch promised “candid and frank” discussions as he and Pence appeared before the press before going into their bilateral meeting.
“I had continuously voiced over the past year, in my meetings with Washington, my concerns regarding the U.S. decision on Jerusalem that does not come as a result of a comprehensive settlement to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. And I know that we are going to talk about that today, and that you have come points that you’re going to raise,” he said. “Again, for us, Jerusalem is key to Muslims and Christians as it is to Jews. It is key to peace in the region.”
King Abdullah called the question of Jerusalem “a major challenge to overcome, especially with some of the rising frustrations.”
“And I think it’s very important, and your visit here, I’m sure, is to rebuild the trust and confidence in not only how we move forward with a two-state solution on — for us, the June 4th, 1967 lines and East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestinian state, but living side by side with a secure and recognized Israel in accordance with international laws and the Arab Peace Initiative,” he continued.
“We understand the challenges, and we hope that the U.S. will reach out and find the right way to move forward in these challenging circumstances. We believe that, with all the right intentions and the support of the international community, this is extremely possible and we will work very closely with our friends in this endeavor.”
Pence said that President Trump “made a historic decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but as he also made clear in that decision, that we are committed to continue to respect Jordan’s role as the custodian of holy sites; that we take no position on boundaries and final status — those are subject to negotiation.”
“And as I’ve made clear to you, and the President made clear to the world, the United States of America remains committed, if the parties agree, to a two-state solution. We are committed to restarting the peace process,” the vice president added. “And Jordan does now, and has always, played a central role in facilitating peace in the region. And we look forward to your counsel and to your direct and central involvement in that process in the days ahead.”
Pence began his first Mideast trip Saturday in Cairo, meeting with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, saying “it was reflective of that historic, strategic partnership that we come to Egypt first.”
Today, Pence addressed the Knesset in Israel, telling lawmakers, “In the story of the Jews, we’ve always seen the story of America. It is the story of an exodus, a journey from persecution to freedom, a story that shows the power of faith and the promise of hope.”
He promised that “in the weeks ahead, our administration will advance its plan to open the United States Embassy in Jerusalem, and that United States Embassy will open before the end of next year.”
“By finally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the United States has chosen fact over fiction. And fact is the only true foundation for a just and lasting peace,” Pence said. “…If both sides agree, the United States of America will support a two-state solution.”