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King and Queen of Jordan travel to the United States and meet the President and First Lady

King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan have been in the United States, and yesterday, they met President Trump and First Lady Melania at the White House. The King and Trump discussed the fight against ISIS in the Middle East, how the US would fund humanitarian aid in Jordan and ongoing peace talks in the area.

The King and Queen with the President and First Lady in the Oval Office. Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

Later in the afternoon, His Majesty and President Trump held a joint press conference in the Rose Garden. President Trump assured King Abdullah that the friendship between the two nations would continue, “The historical ties and close friendship between our two countries dates back three-quarters of a century…I am deeply committed to preserving our strong relationship — which I will — and to strengthening America’s longstanding support for Jordan.  And you do have tremendous support within our country.”

The President also complimented the King of Jordan by saying, “In King Abdullah, America is blessed with a thoughtful and determined partner.  He is a man who has spent years commanding his country’s special forces.”

His Majesty thanked President Trump for his kind words and the warm welcome to the White House. He also spoke about the partnership between the US and Jordan, “What I do want to say is how much we deeply appreciate the close relations we have with the United States, with you, Mr President, and with the American people.  This is a strategic partnership that we keep very close to our hearts, and it is a partnership on so many levels that we will continue, I think, with the frank discussions that we had today to improve on as we face the challenges of the future.”

The King added that Jordan would be a strong ally of the US and support its policies. He concluded his speech by saying, “So I want to thank you, sir, because you have the outlook of looking not just at the Syrian challenges but that of Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Libya, and everything that is in our region.  So I think your message to all of us is a message of hope, and that’s what I take away from this conference.”

His Majesty was asked how the outcome of the recent Arab Summit in Jordan would help the United States in its policy in continuing negotiations between Palestine and Israel. “Well, as I said, our peace initiative came out with a resounding resolution to offer peace to the Israelis, to make them feel that they’re accepted into the neighbourhood, and to be able to support the President as he brings both parties together…The Arabs are prepared to do whatever they can to bring Israelis and Palestinians together under the leadership of the President.”

Regarding the ongoing fight against terrorism, King Abdullah remarked, “Terrorists have no respect for borders and religions and people.  So it’s the seriousness of how we do this holistic approach that I’ve mentioned several times.”

State Department photo/ Public Domain

Also during the trip, King Abdullah participated in a working luncheon on 4 April with US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. He also met Secretary of Defence General James Mattis and National Security Adviser Herbert McMaster. The talks concerned the turmoil in the Middle East and the ongoing civil war in Syria.

Queen Rania and the First Lady had a private dinner at the residence where they discussed the problems in their countries. Then they travelled, together with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, to the Excel Academy Public Charter School in the nation’s capital. The academy is the first public charter school for girls in Pre-K through the eighth grade. Both ladies were presented with flowers upon their arrival by some of the students.

They participated in a session with teachers, parents, and students of the school. Among the discussions were the topics of teaching life skills, community engagement, and the schools demographics and mission. During the discussions, Queen Rania was very inquisitive about the programme and its curriculum as an advocate for children’s education.

They were also given a tour and met fifth and eighth-grade students in their classrooms; the visit to the fifth-grade science class saw the students dissecting owl pellets.

About her day with the Queen, the First Lady said, “I was pleased to welcome and host Queen Rania Al-Abdullah to the White House today.

“Education is critical to our efforts to shine a light on the topic of gender equality and empowerment of women. Excel Academy is an exceptional example of a school preparing young women both academically and personally so that they may succeed in a global community. Hearing directly from teachers and the students who attend the school was an important step in the dialogue needed to further my agenda as First Lady of the United States.”

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