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Aides say Obama, Jordanian king to meet soon

AFP , Tuesday 12 Jan 2016
Carter, King Abdullah
US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter stands alongside Jordan's King Abdullah II during an honor cordon upon his arrival for meetings at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, January 11, 2016 (Photo: AFP)

President Barack Obama and Jordan's King Abdullah plan to meet in the next few months, an official said Tuesday, amid questions about why they did not hold talks in Washington this week.

"A meeting with the president will be arranged during an upcoming visit, likely to take place within the coming month or two," a Jordanian official told AFP.

Obama did not host close ally Abdullah -- who is currently in Washington -- at the White House this week because of scheduling problems, aides said.

"The president regrets that he is unable to meet with him personally on this visit due to scheduling conflicts, including the State of the Union address," a White House spokesperson said.

Obama will deliver his final annual address to a joint session of Congress later Tuesday, a set piece of the US political calendar.

White House and Jordanian officials said Abdullah would instead meet with Vice President Joe Biden. He met Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday.

Kerry and Abdullah discussed the fight against ISIS and "efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations," a diplomat said.

For his part, Carter expressed his "deep appreciation... for Jordan's continued contributions to regional counter-ISIL efforts," Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said.

Obama and Abdullah last met in Washington almost a year ago.

Since then, the fight against ISIS group has intensified, and efforts to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have ossified.

Obama "looks forward to the opportunity to meet with his majesty in the near future," the White House official said. 

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