AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah II, on Monday, met with a number of journalists and media figures for a wide-ranging discussion on local issues and regional and international developments.
His Majesty spoke about his recent visit to the US and said he held “successful and fruitful” talks with US President, Donald J. Trump, and congressional leaders and committees. He said he was optimistic that Jordan and the US would continue to expand ties.
King Abdullah indicated that US officials emphasized the importance of supporting the Kingdom to help it address the various challenges over the coming years. He pointed out that the meetings, he held with members of the new US administration and Congress, “were very helpful at this stage”, noting that President Trump invited him for an official visit to the US in the near future.
The talks focused on the latest developments in the Middle East, particularly the Syrian crisis and peace-making efforts between the Palestinians and Israelis, as well as the potential implications of relocating the US embassy to Jerusalem, the King said, adding:” The members of the new administration respect our views in dealing with the various challenges.”
Turning to another issue, King Abdullah told the audience that Jordan is taking part in the Astana meetings as an observer upon an invitation from Russia, emphasizing the importance of Moscow’s role in finding a solution to the crisis in Syria through international cooperation and coordination.
He said he was optimistic of a new chapter of positive cooperation between the US and Russia on the Syria issue. King Abdullah stressed the importance of ensuring stability in southern Syria through maintaining the ceasefire, and, simultaneously, work for a political solution and continue the fight against terrorist groups, among which is Daesh, aka ISIS.
The King said stepping up the fight against the “Khawarij” goes beyond Syria and Iraq, and there must be a holistic strategy to fight terrorism, which appears under various names in different parts of the world. He stressed that the war against terrorism is not a military war only, but also an intellectual, cultural and media war.
He emphasized that the West shouldn’t adopt any policies that would create a sense of marginalization and targeting among Muslim communities. He noted that he underlined, during his visit to the US, the importance of reaching a solution the Palestinian cause, and warned that what is happening in Palestine and in Jerusalem in particular boosts terrorists’ ability to find recruits and inflame the passions of Muslims.
Speaking on local issues, His Majesty stressed that Jordan’s strength depends on the cohesion of its internal front, and everyone’s understanding of security, economic and social challenges facing the nation, saying: “Jordan is fine but we should be realistic and aware of these challenges.”
He said such challenges require an all-encompassing stance and assured that the nation is capable of overcoming them. In this context, His Majesty voiced confidence in the capabilities of the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab army, security agencies and citizens’ awareness, and said the development of the army’s security agencies’ capabilities is ongoing.
King Abdullah explained that regional challenges are to blame for the economic hardships the Kingdom is experiencing, asserting that the nation can surmount these hardships through opening new markets for national exports and support emerging sectors.
The King said that he instructed the government to protect the middle class and the poor while implementing financial reforms to rein in public debt despite slower growth and regional challenges.
He emphasized that the fight against administrative and financial corruption must continue, adding: “We cannot criticize nepotism and favouritism on the one hand, and practice it as a behaviour on the other.”
Turning the media domain, the King stressed that professional media and opinion leaders have a reasonability towards the nation and they should deliver clear, objective and correct information to the citizens.
Furthermore, the media, the King said, should play a key role in promoting the values of moderation and exposing “obscurantist thought”.
Speaking on a forthcoming Arab summit to be held in Amman later in March, the King said it will focus on efforts to combat terrorism and extremism, support national reconciliation in Iraq, and the Syrian crisis and peace-making efforts, in addition to Jerusalem.
His Majesty said that Jordan and Saudi Arabia maintain strong relationship and added that a visit by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, to Jordan next month would push cooperation between the courtiers even further.
On Iraq, King Abdullah said that a strong, prosperous and united Iraq is a necessity for the region, indicating that Jordan is assuming a constructive role to that effect.