Jordanian King Abdullah to Meet Trump in Last-ditch Attempt to Influence Peace Plan

Trump's peace plan could present new challenges for Jordan, where a majority of the population is of Palestinian origin

U.S. President Donald Trump, right, and King Abdullah II of Jordan arrive to a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, April 5, 2017.
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

WASHINGTON - Jordanian King Abdullah will meet President Trump at the White House on Monday, in a last-ditch attempt to influence the contents of the American administration's Middle East peace plan.

The visit will take place less than a week after Abdullah hosted Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, in Amman for talks on the same subject. Abdullah also met last week with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss the contents of the plan, which could be presented within weeks. 

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The Jordanian King has urged the Trump administration for more than a year now to endorse a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and to clearly offer a Palestinian state as part of its peace plan. So far, however, the administration has not endorsed such a position, and it's still not clear if Palestinian independence will be part of Trump's plan. Trump has stated in the past that he will support a two-state solution "if both sides support it."

In his meeting last week with Kushner and with Trump's special envoy to the peace process, Jason Greenblatt, Abdullah repeated Jordan's commitment to a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. He told the American representatives that such a plan constitutes the only viable way to reach peace in the region. Kushner later said in an interview to Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds that a similar position was repeated by all the Arab leaders that he and Greenblatt met during their trip to the region last week. 

Abdullah has been in Washington since Friday, and has already met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin. Apart from the peace process, his visit is also focused on Jordan's economic and political sitaution, which has stabilized after a massive wave of demonstrations that rocked the kingdom earlier this month.

Trump's peace plan could present new challenges for Jordan, where a majority of the population is of Palestinian origin. Jordan is concerned that the plan won't include the establishment of a Palestinian state, and won't include a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue apart from investing money in the Arab states that host those refugees and their descendants. In addition, Jordan is concerned that the plan could hurt its standing in the Arab world as custodian of the Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, by offering more involvement in those sites to other Arab countries. 

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The Trump administration has so far denied numerous reports about the contents of the plan, insisting that only a small number of officials are aware of what is actually included. In his interview with Al-Quds this weekend, Kushner stated that the plan will be presented "soon," adding that "we're close to finishing." He refused, however, to share any specific details, and said only that the plan would be "fair" and would offer ways to improve the lives of the Palestinian people. 

At the beginning of the Trump administration, Abdullah was credited in some press reports with convincing Trump to hold back on moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, as Trump had promised to do during the presidential election. However, last winter, when it became apperant that Trump could follow through on that promise, the Jordanian King arrived on short notice to Washington in an attempt to stop the decision - and failed to sway Trump's opinion. It's not clear if his visit on Monday would have any influence on the peace plan. 

The official White House schedule, released on Sunday night, showed that a total of one hour would be devoted to Trump and Abdullah's meeting. After the meeting, Trump will depart Washington for a political rally in South Carolina.