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Jordan’s King Abdullah visits White House in bid to mend frosty Trump-era relations

Jordan’s King Abdullah has met US President Joe Biden at the White House, after years of being sidelined by his predecessor, Donald Trump.

Biden on Monday offered full support for the Jordanian monarch, praising him as a “good, loyal, decent friend.”

“You’ve always been there, and we will always be there for Jordan,” the US president told reporters during a picture-taking session.

King Abdullah is the first Arab leader to visit the White House since Biden was inaugurated as president in January.

Biden said that he wanted to hear about developments in the Middle East from the king. “You live in a tough neighborhood,” he said.

For his part, Abdullah told Biden, “You can always count on me, my country, and many of our colleagues in the region.”

The meeting comes shortly after the kingdom thwarted an alleged coup attempt involving Prince Hamzah, Abdullah’s half-brother, in April.

Biden and Abdullah discussed the Washington-Amman defense relationship and the situation in Syria during the meeting, which also saw the US president announcing the delivery of over 500,000 COVID-19 vaccines to Jordan, according to the White House.

“President Biden commended the important role Jordan plays in the wider stability of the region,” the White House said in a statement.

During the meeting, Biden also voiced his support for the so-called two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

King Abdullah, who has often played the role of envoy from the Arab world in Washington, was sidelined under the former administration of Trump — who favored working with Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf Arab states instead — and was not consulted about the former US president’s so-called “peace plan” for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Trump’s departure is a huge relief to him,” said Martin S. Indyk, a former US ambassador to Israel and a former special envoy to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Jordan has been a leading recipient of US aid since 1994, when it signed a peace treaty with Israel.

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