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Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)

King meets US Secretary of State
Amman, 7 November 2013

His Majesty King Abdullah on Thursday discussed peace efforts and the latest regional developments with US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is currently in Jordan as part of a regional tour.

Central to the meeting’s agenda were possible means of reaching common ground between the Palestinians and Israelis.

King Abdullah underlined Jordan’s support for US efforts to help both sides move forward in peace talks based on a two-state solution aimed at the establishment of a viable and independent Palestinian state within the pre-1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in the spirit of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.

The King said Jordan would continue to cooperate with all stakeholders in order to support negotiations that address the final status issues, which are linked to higher Jordanian interests, according to a clear timetable.

His Majesty called on the international community to take a “bigger” role in halting Israel’s unilateral measures in the occupied Palestinian territories, describing them as “illegitimate” and “illegal”, and hence a key obstacle to efforts to bring about peace.

As for the situation in Syria, the King stressed the Kingdom’s stance in support of a comprehensive political solution that would end the bloodshed and preserve the cohesion and unity of the Syrian people.

His Majesty referred to the burden placed upon Jordan as a result of the immense pressure being put on the Kingdom’s already scarce resources by the 600,000 Syrian refugees it hosts.

For his part, Kerry updated the King on efforts exerted by the US to realise effective progress in the current Palestinian-Israeli talks, voicing his appreciation of His Majesty’s continued endeavours to help achieve comprehensive peace.

He also commended the Kingdom’s role in alleviating the suffering of Syrians, stressing US commitment to continued support for Jordan.

Kerry also highlighted US preparations towards holding the Geneva II conference on Syria.

Speaking to reporters at a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, Kerry warned against the results of continued Palestinian-Israeli conflict, stressing that “this region does not benefit by continued conflict”.

Mideast peace, he said, “is important not only for the Palestinian territories. It is important for Israelis and people all throughout the region”.

“The stakes here are huge…” the secretary said, adding that peace “brings economic possibilities to this region”.

Kerry expressed appreciation for the King’s efforts towards achieving peace in the region.

“I would like to thank His Majesty King Abdullah for his tremendous engagement in this process. We had a very constructive conversation this morning. His Majesty put a number of ideas in the table that have possibilities…”

Kerry’s visit to Amman comes as part of a tour of countries in the region, where he also met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.

Though acknowledging the difficulties, Kerry said both Netanyahu and Abbas were committed to the negotiations.

He noted that his visit to Jordan is important because “Jordan is not just a neighbour, not a passive bystander in this process. Jordan is integrally involved and has high stakes in the outcome of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the question of peace”.
“Jordan has a long border with Israel and the West Bank. The Palestinian territories and Jordan have been a partner for peace with Israel, with the United States and all those people who are looking for stability and peace and to end this conflict in the region,” Kerry told reporters.

“Jordan is already engaged in a major security relationship with the parties and whenever resolution there is with respect to the issue of peace between Israel and Palestinians, Jordan will be a partner in that process… so it is important to the United States to be able to be engaged in this process with Jordan.”

Kerry also noted that President Barack Obama is deeply committed to this peace effort. “We are committed to a peaceful, prosperous future for the people of Israel and the people of Palestine. Both Netanyahu and Abbas reaffirmed their commitment to peace negotiations despite the fact that there are obviously tensions over one happening or another in one place or another…”

Kerry also said that he will meet again with Abbas on Thursday evening and Netanyahu on Friday. The purpose for these meetings he said is “to explore, discuss and examine various possibilities of how we can resolve very complicated issues in ways that meet the needs of both parties… in ways to achieve peace”.

At the end of his seventh visit to the region in July, Kerry announced the resumption of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, suspended for almost three years, with the goal of reaching a deal by the end of April 2014.