Biden to Meet Jordan's King Abdullah This Week Amid Jerusalem Tensions

'The United States has a central role in promoting the peace process,' says Jordan's foreign minister, who accompanied the king on his U.S. tour

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Jordan's King Abdullah II speaks at a news conference in Berlin, Germany, in March.
Jordan's King Abdullah II speaks at a news conference in Berlin, Germany, in March.Credit: Hannibal Hanschke/Pool via AP

U.S. President Joe Biden is set to meet with Jordan's King Abdullah II later this week, a source familiar with the meeting said on Monday, with Middle East regional issues expected to dominate the meeting.

Jordan, the custodian of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, has been heavily involved in efforts to maintain calm in the city, which has seen repeated clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police over the past weeks, during the month of Ramadan.

According to the Royal Hashemite Court, the king arrived in the United States on Friday for a working visit. The tour began in New York, and from there the king will continue to Washington.

In a Monday interview with Sky News Arabia, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, who accompanied Abdullah on the trip, said the visit and upcoming meeting are "important for the discussion of regional issues."

Safadi reiterated Jordan's position that "any measure that violates the status quo in Jerusalem is legally void," urging Israel to maintain calm around the holy sites.

"The United States has a central role in promoting the peace process," Safadi added. He also hailed King Abdullah's "great efforts to restore calm to Jerusalem."

Jordan has accused Israel of having gradually changed restrictions on worship at the mosque since 2000, undermining a centuries-old tradition under which non-Muslims do not worship in the compound.

Jordan specifically condemned Israeli authorities for letting Jewish worshippers on the site.

Last month, Abdullah urged Israel to "cease illegal provocative measures" and called for more international pressure after clashes left both Palestinians and Israelis wounded.

The new diplomatic effort is "to deal with the roots of the tension and ensure that matters don't explode again," a Jordanian official who requested anonymity said, adding that Washington had been given a paper that "clearly" stated the kingdom's position.

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