AMMAN — US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday said that Jordan, led by His Majesty King Abdullah, is “a true partner” for peace and progress.
In remarks to the press on Capitol Hill before her meeting alongside the US House leadership with King Abdullah, Speaker Pelosi said Congress looks to benefit from “the breadth of His Majesty’s knowledge” and his wisdom when working for prosperity, security, and peace in the Middle East; countering terrorism globally and regionally; and advancing the region’s economy to bring prosperity for its people, a Royal Court statement said.
Speaker Pelosi welcomed His Majesty to the US House of Representatives, noting that she has worked with Jordan’s leadership over 25 years “as an appropriator, as a leader, as a speaker, and it’s just remarkable to see the depth of our friendship”.
She also highlighted Jordan’s role in hosting refugees.
“I particularly want to thank His Majesty for what I saw when bringing a delegation to Jordan, where many of my colleagues have seen the hospitality and generosity extended by His Majesty and Her Majesty and the people of Jordan to the refugees from Syria,” Speaker Pelosi said.
Also speaking to the press, the King noted the strong, strategic partnership between Jordan and the US, as the two countries celebrate 70 years of diplomatic ties, during which they have dealt with mutual challenges in the region and further afield.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank not only the Hill, but the American people for all the support that we have gotten in Jordan with all of the challenges we have had in the region, not only with the major burden of the refugee crisis but also fighting together, shoulder to shoulder,” to counter terrorism, His Majesty said.
“On behalf of the Jordanian people, thank you, Ma’am, this august body, and the people of the United States for all the support that you have given us,” the King added.
Prior to his meeting with Speaker Pelosi and House leadership, His Majesty met separately with the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programmes; and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, according to the statement.
Discussions covered Jordan’s friendship with the US and means to build on it to bolster their partnership and seek new areas of cooperation.
The King expressed Jordan’s appreciation for the US’ ongoing support for development projects in the Kingdom, the statement added.
Discussions also addressed the economic programmes implemented by Jordan to stimulate growth and create jobs.
Discussing regional conditions, His Majesty called for jumpstarting the peace process and launching Palestinian-Israeli negotiations on the basis of the two-state solution, leading to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The meetings also touched on efforts to reach political solutions to regional crises, as well as efforts to counter terrorism within a holistic approach, the Royal Court added.
Speaking at the meetings, Congress members said the King is a dependable leader for peace and stability in the Middle East, expressing appreciation for the strong ties between Jordan and the US and describing the Kingdom as a strategic ally in a turbulent region.
Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and Jordan’s Ambassador to the US Dina Kawar attended the meetings.
In a press interview, Representative Nita Lowey (D-New York), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, said: “It is always an honour and a privilege to have an opportunity to have a dialogue with His Majesty.”
Representative Lowey added that the King understands the region, noting that Congress counts on him to work in partnership to bring peace and prosperity.
“For too long, we have been talking about two states for two peoples,” she added, referring to the Palestinians and the Israelis. “Unfortunately, there are always obstacles, but I know that with His Majesty’s leadership and our work, we will have, I hope, a very happy conclusion that will lead to prosperity for all people.”
“I know how important His Majesty is to all the struggles in the region. He has huge numbers of refugees… Therefore, as the chair of appropriations committee, every year I want to be sure that we provide adequate resources so we can be a real partner to His Majesty to help him with the many challenges he has in that region,” Lowey added.
For his part, Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-Nebraska), member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programmes, said there is a great deal of respect for King Abdullah on Capitol Hill, the statement said.
“The way in which he represents the Jordanian people before America; the leadership role he has in creating the conditions, possibility, the imagination that is necessary for peace in the Middle East; the briefings, the conversations, the dialogue that we have with His Majesty are extraordinarily beneficial to us and it only strengthens the American-Jordanian partnership,” Fortenberry said.
The King’s efforts, he continued, project “for the world that there are good people” who have been “acting courageously with strong leadership to work through the hardest, messiest, twisted difficult problems”.
“We very much rely on His Majesty’s wisdom and insights,” Fortenberry added, noting that Jordan is most affected by regional conditions.
“We learn a tremendous amount from him and have a great deal of respect for his insights,” he said.
The US lawmaker also noted Jordan’s “indispensable” role in the Middle East peace process, stressing that it “cannot be replaced”.
Jordan’s ability to project leadership on the world stage is a reflection of the character of the Jordanian people and the King’s leadership, he noted.
Noting that “the American-Jordanian relationship remains strong”, he said the US needs “Jordan to be the stabilising influence in the Middle East”, and needs its feedback and help to navigate difficulties throughout the Middle East, particularly the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.