May 10, 2022 - World

Jordan's King Abdullah to discuss Jerusalem tensions with Biden at White House

U.S. President Joe Biden and King Abdullah II of Jordan meet in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, July 19, 2021.

President Biden and Jordan's King Abdullah in the Oval Office on July 19, 2021. Photo: Sarahbeth Maney/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House announced Tuesday that President Biden will meet Jordan's King Abdullah at the White House Friday amid rising tensions in Jerusalem, mainly around the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Why it matters: It will be the second time Biden meets Abdullah at the White House — more than with any other leader in the Middle East.

Driving the news: Abdullah will arrive in Washington on Tuesday. He is expected to hold meetings with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Tony Blinken, U.S. and Jordanian sources said.

  • The king will also have meetings with members of Congress.

What they are saying: Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told Sky News Arabia that the king will discuss with the Biden administration the need to maintain the status quo at the Al-Aqsa mosque.

  • The Al-Aqsa compound, which is important to both Muslims and Jews, is administered by Jordan.
  • Safadi said the king will also discuss the new memorandum of understanding about U.S. financial aid to Jordan.
  • Abdullah's visit "will reinforce the close friendship and enduring partnership between the United States and Jordan," the White House said. "Jordan is a critical force for stability in the Middle East and strategic partner and ally of the United States."

State of play: Recent violence in Jerusalem led to a crisis between Jordan and Israel. It also destabilized the fragile Israeli government, with the Ra'am party, also known as the United Arab List, suspending its membership in the coalition.

  • In recent weeks, there has been a wave of attacks by Palestinians against Israelis and an increase in Israeli military operations in the occupied West Bank.

What to watch: Biden is expected to travel to the Middle East towards the end of June and meet with Israeli and Palestinian Authority officials

  • Israeli and Jordanian officials are expected to hold discussions in the coming weeks on the situation in Jerusalem.
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