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Biden, Jordan's King Abdullah discuss vaccines, region

July 20, 2021 at 10:15 am

US President Joe Biden and King Abdullah II of Jordan meet in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, US on Monday, July 19, 2021 [Sarahbeth Maney/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

US President Joe Biden hosted Jordan’s King Abdullah at the White House on Monday in a meeting that spanned a range of issues, including the coronavirus pandemic and the Middle East, reports Anadolu Agency.

Biden “was proud to announce the delivery of over” half a-million coronavirus vaccine doses, “underscoring the US commitment to bringing the same urgency to international vaccination efforts that we have demonstrated at home,” the White House said in a statement issued after the meeting concluded.

The leaders also addressed “pressing economic challenges exacerbated” by the pandemic and “consulted on opportunities to enhance peace and stability in the Middle East.”

“In that regard, the President expressed his strong support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and respect for Jordan’s special role as custodian of Muslim holy places in Jerusalem,” the White House said.

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Biden further reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to improving bilateral cooperation, “including the promotion of economic opportunities that will be vital for a bright future in Jordan,” it added.

The meeting marks the first face-to-face talks between the leaders since Biden assumed office in January, and Abdullah recently overcame a challenge to his rule from his half-brother Prince Hamzah with the assistance of the US in April.

The royal standoff marked one of the most serious challenges to the stability of a country the US views as a lynchpin of security in the region.

Abdullah will meet with Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday.

The Jordanian king is the first of three Middle East leaders expected to visit the White House soon. Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi will visit on July 26, followed by yet-to-be-scheduled face-to-face talks with Naftali Bennett, Israel’s new prime minister.

During their bilateral meeting, Biden voiced “US support for engagement between Jordan and the new Israeli government, as demonstrated by their bilateral agreement earlier this month to improve Jordan’s access to fresh water and increase Jordan’s exports to the West Bank,” the White House said.

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