Jordan king heads to US for Trump meeting

AFP , Thursday 21 Jun 2018

King Abdullah
File Photo: Jordan's King Abdullah speaks during a news conference at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, Cyprus January 16, 2018 (Photo: Reuters)

Jordan's King Abdullah II set off for the United States on Thursday for talks with President Donald Trump on Middle East issues including the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the palace said.

Accompanied by his wife Rania, the monarch is also scheduled to meet with senior officials from the Trump administration and members of Congress, the palace said in a statement.

His meeting with Trump is expected to take place at the White House on Monday.

The White House said in a statement that they would "discuss issues of mutual concern, including terrorism, the threat from Iran and the crisis in Syria, and working towards a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians."

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which has been on ice since 2014, was the subject of meetings this week in Amman between Jordan's foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, and the Palestinians' negotiators and intelligence chief.

King Abdullah held talks on the issue with Trump's adviser Jared Kushner and special envoy Jason Greenblatt in Amman on Tuesday, a day after hosting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a rare meeting.

An ally of the United States, Jordan is also one of only two Arab countries that has signed a peace treaty with Israel.

The kingdom is the guardian of Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem.

It has played a leading role in the peace process, where it has supported the so-called two-state solution, or the creation of a Palestinian state to exist alongside Israel.

Trump's administration sparked anger across the Arab world in December by recognising Jerusalem as capital of Israel.

The Palestinian leadership responded by freezing all contacts with US officials.

In May Washington moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, fuelling mass demonstrations on Israel's flashpoint border with Gaza in which Israeli forces shot dead dozens of demonstrators.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online. 

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