Jordan’s King Abdullah II delivered a virtual address at “the Middle East and the new US administration” conference at the Brookings Institution on Thursday, 25 February.
The conference focused on Middle Eastern relations in the new US President, Joe Biden’s administration. King Abdullah thanked those assembled for inviting him to speak and praised US leadership, saying it “is key to regional security and stability.”
He added, “We are heartened by President Biden’s renewed commitment to international engagement.”
The King stressed America’s important values: “In these difficult times, America’s balanced voice and values are greatly needed to restore momentum to a partnership-based global system that puts the health and wellbeing of all peoples at the heart of its priorities.”
King Abdullah also reaffirmed Jordan’s support for the US: “Our relationship is a friendship and a joint commitment that extends over seven decades. It is a relationship we have proudly built together over the years.”
He also touched on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of getting the vaccine distributed to everyone worldwide. His Majesty shared how Jordan is giving vaccines to refugees, revealing that the first refugee in the world to receive the jab was in his kingdom for free. The King stressed that refugees could not be forgotten – even during times of a global pandemic. Organisations like the World Health Organisation, the UNHCR, and UNRWA must be given continued support, he said, because helping them “is essential to enable them to assist vulnerable communities in averting the far-reaching implications of the pandemic on health, livelihoods, education, and food security.”
King Abdullah added that terror threats from groups like ISIS and Boko Haram are still prevalent and that the pandemic will help fuel their recruitment. He said the Middle East is looking to US leadership in the midst of turmoil in the region, which includes conflicts in Syria and Yemen. As an ardent supporter of the Palestinians, he also spoke about the need for a two-state solution and how Jordan will continue to be the custodian of the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.
He concluded his remarks by talking about Jordan’s centennial, the need for peace in the Middle East, and the Brookings Institution’s importance.
The Brookings Institution was founded in 1916 and is a think tank that specialises in international public and foreign relations.