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King meets U.S Vice President Pence
Amman, Jan. 21 (Petra)- His Majesty King Abdullah held talks on Sunday with visiting U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on developments related to the Palestinian cause and Jerusalem and the strategic partnership ties between the two countries.

The King during the meeting at Al Husseiniya Palace, attended by Her Majesty Queen Rania, wife of Vice President Pence and a number of officials from both sides and began over a lunch banquet, welcomed Pence's visit saying " I am glad we are seeing you here today, especially when it comes at a very critical point in our region." The King added " first, I would like to acknowledge and thank the US for its historical friendship and support to Jordan across many, many years. You have been a partner that has always stood with our country and our people through very difficult times, and I just wanted to express how much we appreciate the continuous support that we get from your country".

"Our wide-ranging discussions today I believe are timely, and as always as friends and partners we will be candid and frank with each other," His Majesty pointed out.

"As you are aware, obviously for us, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, for Jordan and the region, we see as a potential major source of instability. That is why we were encouraged by the President’s early commitment to bring a solution to this decades-long conflict," the King said.

"I had continuously voiced over the past year in my meetings in Washington my concerns regarding a US 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 some points that you are going to raise," the King underlined.

"Again, for us, Jerusalem is key to Muslims and Christians as it is to Jews," the King said.

"Today, we have 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 the two-state solution on, for us, June 4, 1967 lines and East Jerusalem as a capital of an independent Palestinian state living side by side with a secure and recognised Israel in accordance with international laws and the Arab Peace Initiative," the King pointed out.

"We understand the challenges and we hope the US 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 endeavour," His Majesty said.

"Sir, again, I want to reiterate our historic partnership; it has always been underpinned by the friendship between our two countries and our mutual interests in advancing peace, stability and prosperity in the region," the King underscored.

"And today, I know that we will be talking about some bilateral issues as well as some key regional issues and our commitment and our steadfastness with our partners to fight terrorism," His Majesty pointed out.

VP Pence, for his part, thanked His Majesty for the warm hospitality his delegation received, and said "it is good to see you and Her Majesty, and to be able to come with my wife and our team to your beautiful country." "I bring greetings from your friend, President Donald Trump, who asked me to come to Jordan to talk about a broad range of issues in security and prosperity and regional issues with you, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to do that," he added.

"As you mentioned, Your Majesty, the United States and Jordan had stood together for decades. It has been a partnership strategic in scope, important in the region and important in the world. And we are here to reaffirm our friendship and our partnership and our great respect for you and for the role that the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has played in this region and across the globe during all the time of our friendship and partnership," he pointed out.

"I’m also here to express our great admiration for your leadership and the courage of the Jordanian military in the fight against terrorism. Together, with the American military and the Iraqi military and our coalition partners, we’ve made dramatic progress in the battle against ISIS; driving ISIS out of Iraq, and driving ISIS out of the capital of their so-called Caliphate of Raqqa. And you can be assured that we will continue to work closely with you as we drive ISIS out of existence together," he said.

"And let me also say that, as the United States made clear in the recent days, we remain committed to Syria and to a presence in Syria not only to defeat ISIS, but to restrain the malign influence of Iran and other efforts in the region that would add to further destabilisation," he affirmed.

"And let me also say, at President Trump’s direction, we’re announcing in the last week more than a $110 million that the United States is making available to rebuild Christian and religious minority communities in Iraq and Syria that have been decimated by war. And we’re grateful for your personal commitment to religious diversity and religious freedom, and we look forward to working with you to ensure that all the peoples of all different faiths can find a way forward and recover after these years of conflict," he said.

"President Trump made a historic decision to recognise 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," he pointed out.

"We are committed to restarting the peace process, 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," he said.

"To both of Your Majesties, we thank you for extending the hospitality at the Hashemite Kingdom, and I look very much forward to our discussion," he concluded.

//Petra// AG
21/1/2018 - 05:56:53 PM
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