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King Abdullah engaged regional leaders in preparation for Biden’s presidency

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Jan 22, 2021

Jordan engaged in a flurry of diplomatic exercise forward of Joe Biden’s inauguration as president in an effort to assist lay the groundwork for a contemporary engagement with the United States following years of frustration for a lot of international locations that was caused by the unilateral approach of the Donald Trump presidency. 

On Jan. 18, King Abdullah hosted Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Amman. The two leaders held talks that coated bilateral ties and regional points. They additionally mentioned methods to develop Jordanian-Egyptian-Iraqi cooperation whereas constructing on progress made on the three earlier summits, in accordance with a royal court docket assertion. The king reaffirmed Jordan’s standing place calling for a simply and complete peace on the idea of the two-state resolution that ensures the institution of an impartial, sovereign and viable Palestinian state on the June 4, 1967, traces with East Jerusalem as its capital, the assertion mentioned. 

Sisi was quoted as saying that Egypt will proceed to push for efforts to safe Palestinian rights, including that supporting the Palestinian trigger is a elementary factor of Egyptian coverage.

Sources mentioned the 2 leaders additionally mentioned the upcoming Palestinian elections, whose dates have been introduced by President Mahmoud Abbas on Jan. 15. Sources instructed Al-Monitor that each Amman and Cairo had pressured Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to make the move few days earlier than Biden’s inauguration in a bid to resume the legitimacy of Palestinian legislative and government establishments. 

On Jan. 17, the chiefs of the Egyptian and Jordanian intelligence companies arrived in Ramallah, the place they met with Abbas. Ahmed Husni, head of the Jordanian General Intelligence Directorate, and Abbas Kamel, head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service, mentioned preparations for the Palestinian legislative and presidential elections to be held for the primary time in 15 years later this 12 months. Elections are to be held for the PA presidency, parliament and the PLO’s Palestinian National Council.

The go to was throughout the context of ongoing coordination between the Palestinians and the 2 Arab international locations in preparation for partaking the Biden administration, a Palestinian Authority official in Ramallah mentioned.

Sisi’s go to to Amman got here two days after Abdullah flew to Abu Dhabi on Jan. 16 to carry talks with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and the deputy supreme commander of the UAE armed forces. Jordan’s royal court docket mentioned in a press release that the talks targeted on the necessity to preserve coordination and session on problems with mutual concern, whereas bolstering cooperation throughout all sectors.

The assembly coated the newest Arab and regional developments, foremost of which is the Palestinian trigger and technique of attaining peace within the area, the assertion mentioned. It added that the king burdened the significance of reaching a simply and complete resolution to the Palestinian trigger on the idea of the two-state resolution. He additionally welcomed the end result of the Gulf Cooperation Council summit held Jan. 5 in Saudi Arabia that ended the rift between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors in addition to Egypt.

While the king was in Abu Dhabi, his international minister, Ayman al-Safadi, was within the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on a uncommon go to the place he held talks along with his counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan. In addition to discussing bilateral ties, the 2 males reviewed Jordanian-Saudi coordination and session towards resolving regional crises and attaining safety and stability, in accordance with the Jordan Times. It added that the 2 sides additionally burdened the necessity for efforts to relaunch “serious” peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis based mostly on the two-state resolution and the Arab Peace Initiative. Renewed Saudi dedication to the Arab Peace Initiative is necessary for each Jordan and the Palestinians because it comes within the wake of the signing of normalization agreements between Israel and various Arab international locations prior to now few months.

Abdullah had parted methods with the Trump White House over the president’s dealing with of the Middle East peace course of. The king was daring sufficient to reject Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017 and had rebuffed the peace plan Trump launched in January 2020. Jordan rallied Western donor international locations to help the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees after the Unied States suspended its monetary backing for the company. Abdullah had performed so regardless of the dominion’s heavy dependence on America’s financial help and Jordan’s reliance on US political and army help.

Under the Trump administration, Jordan had felt its regional function marginalized as US officers supported direct talks between Israel and Gulf states. Abdullah continued to underline his backing for the two-state resolution as the one path to resolving the Palestinian concern.  

Since Biden’s victory within the November presidential election, the temper in Amman has been upbeat. Abdullah was the first Arab chief to congratulate Biden for his electoral victory and communicate with him. Biden had renewed his help for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian battle based mostly on the two-state resolution. 

The king is now in place to place Jordan within the forefront of regional gamers as he’s anticipated to be the primary Arab chief to go to Washington, most likely in March, and meet with President Biden. “The king feels that there is a good chance that the peace process could be resumed under Biden and salvage what remains of the two-state solution,” Orieb Al-Rintawi, head of the Jerusalem Strategic Study Center in Amman, instructed Al-Monitor. “This is the reason for the recent burst of diplomatic action out of Amman,” he mentioned.

“There is also a belief that there is a need to reunite Arab countries over a new vision for peace with Israel following the series of normalization deals in recent months,” Rintawi mentioned. “Jordan sees that these deals may be used as leverage over Israel to resume negotiations with the Palestinians,” he added.

Writing in Al-Ghad every day Jan. 19, political commentator Fahd al-Khitan mentioned Amman had change into the middle of lively diplomatic strikes geared toward making ready the area for the post-Trump period. “Jordan sees hope for forming a united Arab stand on resolving the Palestinian issue now that there is a new US administration and following the resolution of the Gulf rift,” he mentioned. “The king has unique ties in Washington, especially with the Biden team, that no other Arab leader has and Jordan will emerge as a key regional player in the coming weeks and months,” Khitan added.

One signal of rising optimism in Amman was the nomination by Biden of veteran diplomat William Burns to go the CIA. Burns had served as US ambassador to Jordan between 1998 and 2001 and is believed to have a deep and balanced understanding of the area, significantly the Israeli-Palestinian battle.

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