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President Herzog speaks with Jordan’s king as nations work to mend relations

According to Herzog’s office, Abdullah phoned to congratulate him on appointment, expressed satisfaction with recent improvement of diplomatic ties

Israeli president Isaac Herzog (L) and Jordan's King Abdullah II (R). (Olivier Fitoussi/FLASH90, Alex Brandon/AP)
Israeli president Isaac Herzog (L) and Jordan's King Abdullah II (R). (Olivier Fitoussi/FLASH90, Alex Brandon/AP)

Isaac Herzog, Israel’s new president, spoke by phone Saturday evening with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, the latest among a number of high-level contacts between the countries after the swearing-in of Israel’s new government last month.

Herzog’s office said in a statement that the Jordanian monarch phoned to congratulate him on becoming president this week.

“The president thanked King Abdullah, who expressed satisfaction with the recent return of diplomatic ties between the two countries to their proper track, ” the statement said. “The president stressed the importance of the strategic ties between the countries for advancing peace and regional development, and that he intends to continue to assist in strengthening the relations between the countries.”

A statement carried by Jordan’s official Petra news agency said King Abdullah called for increased efforts to reach a two-state solution in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The statement also said Herzog phoned Abdullah and not the other way around.

Herzog’s office said the two agreed to remain in contact “to work together to advance cooperation between the states, for the benefit of their nations and the entire region.”

Herzog took office on Wednesday as Israel’s 11th president, succeeding Reuven Rivlin.

Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett attends a swearing-in ceremony for the newly elected Israeli president Isaac Herzog, on July 7, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Earlier this month Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with the Jordanian king in secret at the crown palace in Amman, in the first summit between the countries’ leaders in over three years.

The Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on reports of the talks, first carried by Walla News, but an Israeli official confirmed the meeting to the Associated Press.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met with his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi, on the Jordanian side of the Allenby Bridge crossing. The two announced a deal for Israel to supply Jordan with 50 million cubic meters (65 million cubic yards) of water as it battles a severe drought.

In February, Defense Minister Benny Gantz reportedly met secretly with Abdullah in Jordan. According to reports, Abdullah had refused to meet with Netanyahu, whom he strongly disliked.

Ties with Jordan have suffered in recent years, with Netanyahu accused of neglecting the relationship. Over the last few years, Jordan cut off Israeli access to two farming enclaves leased as part of the 1994 peace deal between the countries, and was a leading voice against Israeli policies in Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

Earlier this year, tensions burst into the open after Amman delayed a plane that was slated to bring Netanyahu to the United Arab Emirates. This was apparently in response to Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein scotching a trip to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, due to disagreements over security arrangements.

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