The Jordanian king becomes the first Arab head of state to visit the White House since the start of the Biden administration

US highlights Jordan as "a key security partner"

CHRIS SETIAN/ROYAL HASHEMITE - Jordan's King Abdullah II attends the opening ceremony of the fourth ordinary session of Parliament

The United States and Jordan are resuming relations after four years of little or no understanding between the two countries. The previous US administration of Donald Trump chose to ignore the Hashemite kingdom while prioritising relations with Gulf countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. However, the current US president, Joe Biden, has once again elevated Jordan to a relevant position on the international and regional stage by welcoming King Abdullah II to the White House.

The Jordanian king becomes the first Arab head of state to visit Washington since the start of the Biden administration, signalling a clear change of direction in US-Jordanian relations. Speaking to reporters moments before the meeting with the Jordanian king, which took place behind closed doors, Biden described King Abdullah II as a "good, loyal and decent friend". Moreover, the US president wanted to put the four years of the Trump administration behind him and stressed that the United States "will always be there for Jordan".

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For his part, Abdullah II also shared a few words of support with the US president. "You can always count on me, on my country and on many of our colleagues in the region," he said. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the two leaders would have the opportunity in private talks to "discuss the many challenges facing the Middle East and showcase Jordan's leadership role in promoting peace and stability in the region." Psaki called Jordan "a key security partner and ally of the United States".

Despite the new US administration's strong focus on the threat posed by China and Russia to Western stability, Joe Biden knows that the US has always been drawn towards the Middle East. Over the past few years, Jordan has emerged as a key ally for the US because of its stabilising and mediating role in the region. The US has also been the largest provider of aid to Jordan since 1994, when Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel, reports The New York Times. 


During the meeting between the two leaders, Joe Biden expressed "strong support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict" and his respect "for Jordan's special role as the custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem". Jordan has been the custodian of both Christian and Muslim holy sites in East Jerusalem since the Hashemite kingdom signed a peace agreement with Israel in 1994. This agreement has on more than one occasion caused tensions between Jordan and Israel to flare up.

Last March Jordan accused Israel of torpedoing the visit of Jordan's crown prince to the Esplanade of the Mosques in Jerusalem. The trip to the Holy City was eventually cancelled 'because of a dispute over security arrangements at the site'. Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al Safadi announced that Prince Hussein Bin Abdullah had planned to join Palestinian worshippers during a service at the mosque, but Israel changed the crown prince's schedule agreed with Amman. The Hashemite kingdom then accused the Jewish state that this change "compromised the right of Palestinians and other Muslims to worship at the site".


This disagreement between the two countries triggered a series of chain actions such as the closure of Jordanian airspace, which prevented the first trip of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the United Arab Emirates after the signing of the normalisation of relations agreements, and the closure of Israeli airspace to flights from Jordan in retaliation. In this respect, the formation of a new government in Israel has helped to iron out the differences between the neighbouring countries.

Joe Biden, during his meeting with Abdullah II, expressed US support for the engagement between Jordan and the new Israeli government, and highlighted the bilateral agreement reached by the two countries earlier this month to improve the Hashemite kingdom's access to fresh water, as well as to increase Jordan's exports to the West Bank.

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The COVID-19 pandemic was also a major topic of discussion between the two leaders. Joe Biden announced the delivery of more than 500,000 vaccines to combat COVID-19 to Jordan, and the two leaders discussed the economic challenges exacerbated by the effects of the pandemic. On strategic matters, Biden praised Jordan's important role in regional stability and pledged US support for the modernisation of Jordan's F-16 fighter fleet, which will allow for greater interoperability and effectiveness of its armed forces.

This meeting returns Jordan to a prominent role on the regional stage, restoring its historical role as a mediator in the Middle East. The Hashemite kingdom, which in recent months has been embroiled in a palace plot full of Game of Thrones-style betrayals, puts behind it the alleged coup attempt by King Abdullah II's half-brother, Prince Hamzah, and after this visit to Washington, Jordan returns to the international stage as a "strategic partner" for the world's leading power, the United States.