US President Biden, Jordan’s King Abdullah discuss tensions in Jerusalem

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US President Joe Biden and Jordan’s King Abdullah II met Friday and discussed ways to reduce tensions in Palestine and Israel, the White House said.

“The leaders consulted on recent events in the region and discussed urgent mechanisms to stem violence, calm rhetoric and reduce tensions in Israel and the West Bank,” the White House said.

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Abdullah was in Washington for his second trip to the White House since Biden was elected in 2020.

It is worth noting that members of the press were not allowed in the Oval Office as is customary when the US president meets with foreign leaders. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the meeting was on a private level when asked about the reasons.

The visit also comes amid heightened tensions between Palestinians and Israelis. Most recently, Israeli forces reportedly shot and killed Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and attacked mourners and pallbearers at her funeral procession on Friday.

Jordan has played a role in mediation efforts alongside Egypt, coordinating with the US.

“The President affirmed his strong support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and cited the need to preserve the historic status quo at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount,” the White House said. “The President also recognized the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan’s crucial role as the custodian of Muslim holy places in Jerusalem.”

As for ties between Washington and Amman, Biden told Abdullah that Jordan is a critical ally and force for stability in the Middle East. “The President confirmed unwavering US support for Jordan and His Majesty’s leadership,” a readout of the meeting said.

Read more: White House slams killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, calls it 'affront to media freedom'

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