U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Jordan’s King Abdullah II “agreed to disagree” over the issue of Jerusalem in their talks in Amman on Sunday.
Pence was in the Hashemite Kingdom for approximately 24 hours after a quick visit to Egypt for several hours of talks on Saturday morning.
Meeting in his palace in Amman, Abdullah told Pence that America’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel caused the region “great concern.” The king said he had “continuously voiced over the past year [his] concerns regarding a U.S. decision on Jerusalem that does not come as a result of a comprehensive settlement to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
“Today we have a major challenge to overcome, especially with some of the rising frustrations,” he added, saying it was “very important” to find some way to advance the “two-state solution” with East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state formulated on pre-1967 boundaries, “living side-by-side with a secure and recognized” Israel.
Ironically, Jordan occupied the eastern portion of Jerusalem for 19 years — from 1948 to 1967 — and never considered, nor ever carried out a plan to create a “Palestinian state.” Nor was there ever such a demand raised by the Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem, Judea, and/or Samaria.
Intent on maintaining positive diplomatic ties, Pence thanked Abdullah for his “warm hospitality” and said he was “here to reaffirm our friendship and our partnership and our great respect for you.”
But he said that the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was “historic,” adding that the U.S. would continue to respect Jordan’s role as Custodian of Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian Holy Sites. He reminded Abdullah that President Donald Trump deliberately did not make any specific reference to boundaries, or the final status of the city, which he noted was subject to negotiation between the two sides.
“The United States of America remains committed – if the parties agree – to a two-state solution,” Pence told Abdullah.
“We are committed to restarting the peace process and Jordan does now and has always played a central role in facilitating peace in the region,” he underlined.