Jordan's king urges Pence to rebuild trust and confidence after Jerusalem announcement

Saul Bowman
January 22, 2018

But Trump's designation of Jerusalem as Israel's capital poses a dilemma for Egypt, which receives extensive military and economic aid from Washington but does not want to appear dismissive of Palestinian concerns.

In remarks during talks with US Vice Mike Pence in Amman, the king said the only solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was a two-state one.

In December 2017, US President Donald Trump declared Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a move that stirred controversy among his western allies as well as across the Arab world.

Its eastern sector was captured by Israel in a 1967 war and annexed in a move which was not recognized by the global community.

Pence arrived in Cairo on Saturday to start his first Middle East tour and travelled on Sunday to Jordan. "We are committed to restarting the peace process", said Pence.

"President Trump made a historic decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel". They accused the US of siding with Israel and said Washington can no longer serve as a mediator.

The report comes as Israeli Hebrew-language Haaretz newspaper said the Israeli ministry for military affairs had confirmed the army was studying a plan to assume responsibility for the situation in the Shuafat refugee camp and the Kafr Aqab district in East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Jordanian officials fear Washington's move on Jerusalem had also wrecked chances of a resumption of Arab-Israeli peace talks which the monarch had sought to revive.

Pence told the king that the USA has committed "to continue to respect Jordan's role as the custodian of holy sites, that we take no position on boundaries and final status".

Jerusalem is key to Muslims and Christians, as it is to Jews.

It posed a dilemma for Abdullah, a staunch US ally who derives his political legitimacy in large part from the Hashemite dynasty's role as guardian of a key Muslim site in Jerusalem. Jordan vehemently opposes such a move if taken ahead of an Israeli-Palestinian partition deal.

"We take no decision on boundaries and final status, those are subject to negotiation", he said. "It is key to peace in the region and key to enabling Muslims to effectively fight some of our root causes of radicalization", he said.

Jordanian officials are further anxious the move could trigger violence in the Palestinian territories and a spillover into Jordan, a country where many people are descendants of Palestinian refugees whose families left their homes after the creation of Israel in 1948.

Pence said the Trump administration would "demand that they reopen the government" and will not reopen negotiations "on illegal immigration" until Congress reopens the government and they give soldiers and their families "the benefits and wages you've earned".

Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in India told reporters that the United States embassy will move to Jerusalem within the year.

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