Al Husseiniya Palace
KING ABDULLAH: Mr. Vice President, on behalf of all of us here in Jordan, we welcome you to our country. We’re delighted to have you here.
As we had just discussed, having family members of your family through Jordan has been a particular pleasure for us, and I’m glad that we’re seeing you here today, especially when it comes at a very critical point in our region.
First, I would like to acknowledge and thank the U.S. 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.
As you are aware, obviously for us, the Palestinian and 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 commitment to bring a solution to this decades-long conflict.
So I had continuously voiced over the past year, in my meetings with Washington, my concerns regarding the U.S. 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 come points that you’re going to raise.
Again, for us, Jerusalem is key to Muslims and Christians as it is to Jews. It is key to peace in the region and key to enabling Muslims to effectively fight some of our root causes of radicalization.
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 a two-state solution on — for us, the June 4th, 1967 lines and East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestinian state, but living side by side with a secure and recognized Israel in accordance with international laws and the Arab Peace Initiative.
We understand the challenges, and we hope that the U.S. 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 endeavor.
So, again, I want to reiterate our historic partnership that has always been underpinned by the friendship between our two countries and our mutual interest in advancing peace, stability, and prosperity in the region.
And today, I know that we’ll 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.
So, sir, I welcome you and your delegation here to Jordan. I’m sure that we’ll have some very interesting discussions. But I’m glad to have you here, sir, and to hear from all of you how we can all move forward and make this part of the world a better place for all of us.
Thank you, sir.
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Well, thank you, Your Majesty. Thank you for the warm hospitality of our entire delegation. And 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. Thank you for the hospitality.
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.
As you mentioned, Your Majesty, the United States and Jordan have 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, and during all the time of our friendship and partnership.
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, 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.
Let me also say that, as the United States made clear in recent days, we remain committed to Syria, 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 destabilization. We look forward to working with you, Your Majesty, on the U.N.-led political process to free that country of the Assad regime and give Syria a new future and a fresh start toward peace and prosperity.
Let me also say, at President Trump’s direction, we’re announcing in the last week more than $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.
There are issues between our two countries that I look forward to illuminating: ways that we can strengthen our ties on security; ways that we can continue to work closely with you, Your Majesty, to advance the prosperity of all of the people of Jordan. But there are also regional issues, and among friends, I look forward to hearing, again, your perspective.
President Trump made a historic decision to recognize 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. 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.
So we are here as partners for security. We are here as partners in both of our nations’ prosperity. And we are here as friends. And to both of Your Majesties, we thank you for extending the hospitality of the Hashemite Kingdom, and I look very much forward to our discussion.