In his first conversation with an Arab leader since his election earlier this month, US President-elect Joe Biden spoke with Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Tuesday, telling the monarch that he hopes to cooperate on “supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
According to a statement put out by Biden’s office Tuesday, “the president-elect thanked King Abdullah for his warm congratulations and expressed his personal determination to strengthen the US-Jordanian strategic partnership.”
King Abdullah was one of the first world leaders to congratulate Biden, tweeting hours after his victory was announced: “I look forward to working with you on further advancing the solid historic partnership between Jordan and the United States, in the interest of our shared objectives of peace, stability and prosperity.”
In their conversation Tuesday, Biden “conveyed his appreciation for Jordan’s invaluable role in hosting Syrian and other regional refugees,” the statement said.
“The president-elect also noted that he looks forward to working closely with King Abdullah on the many interests shared by our countries, including containing COVID-19 and combating climate change; countering terrorism and addressing other regional security challenges; and supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” it concluded.
Jordan, an important regional ally to both Israel and the United States, has long called for a two-state solution and the renewal of Israel-Palestinian peace talks, which have been frozen since 2014.
While relations between the Jordanian government and the United States remained close during the Trump years, the American administration’s policies, particularly its pro-Israel stance, were often deeply unpopular among the kingdom’s pro-Palestinian majority.
While the king has not opposed the normalization accords between Israel and Bahrain and between Israel and the UAE, the Jordanian government has yet to fully embrace them.
When it was announced in August that Abu Dhabi would establish open ties with Israel and that Israel was suspending its West Bank annexation plans, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi ignored the former and focused exclusively on the shelved annexation.
“The decision to freeze the annexation of Palestinian lands included in the agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel must be followed by Israel, stopping all illegal measures which undermine peace opportunities and its violations of Palestinian rights,” al-Safadi wrote at the time.
Jordan and Israel have been at peace since 1994 and have full diplomatic relations. Despite Jordan’s majority-Palestinian population — many of whom do not support the peace treaty — the two governments cooperate closely on security and economic issues.