In a news conference at The Temple of Hercules (pictured) before his meeting with the king, Obama vowed to work for a breakthrough in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations “starting from the minute I’m sworn into office.”
He said he will continue to regard Israel as a valued ally and “that policy is not going to change.” Obama said that if elected president, he would also “recognize the legitimate difficulties that the Palestinian people are experiencing.”
The king met with Obama behind closed doors at his private Amman residence, known as Beit al-Urdun, or the House of Jordan, according to a statement from the royal palace. The talks also focused on Iraq and Lebanon, were attended by fellow U.S. Senators Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.).
The King told Senator Barack Obama that an evenhanded U.S. policy would bolster America’s credibility in the Middle East.
King Abdullah II also said that achieving Palestinian statehood was essential for ending the Arab-Israeli conflict.
“Continued American support for a Middle East peace process that leads to a just and comprehensive peace would help foster Arab-U.S. relations and bolster U.S. credibility in the region,” Abdullah told Obama.
The king warned that Israel’s “settlement policy and its imposition of new realities on the ground, along with the siege on the Palestinian people, would exacerbate conflict and undermine peace efforts,” the palace statement said.
Regarding Iraq, Abdullah said recent steps toward national reconciliation would aid that country’s reconstruction and development.
Abdullah and his wife, Queen Rania, later held a dinner banquet for Obama and the accompanying senators. King Abdullah and Queen Rania flew back from Colorado for the visit, and Obama aides said the Jordanians had suggested a one-on-one meeting before the two were joined by a larger group for dinner at the palace. The king later drove his guest to the airport in his Mercedes.