SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 1 August 2021, Sunday |

Biden to host Jordan’s King Abdullah for broad array of Middle East talks

On Monday, US President Joe Biden will meet with Jordan’s King Abdullah, a vital US ally in a volatile region, in the first of three planned face-to-face meetings with Middle Eastern leaders.

Abdullah, who faced a challenge to his authority from his half-brother, Prince Hamza, in April, will meet with Biden in the Oval Office for the first time since the US president took office in January.

On Tuesday, he will have a business breakfast with Vice President Kamala Harris at the vice president’s home. On Tuesday, he will meet with Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the State Department.

Abdullah plays a unique role in the Middle East, seen by U.S. officials as a moderate and pragmatic leader who can play a mediating role.

Abdullah is the first Middle East leader to visit the Biden White House, to be followed on July 26 by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. U.S. and Israeli officials are working on scheduling a meeting soon between Biden and new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

A senior Biden administration official said the president’s talks with the king are expected to include the way forward for Israel and the Palestinians with Bennett having recently replaced Benjamin Netanyahu as Israeli prime minister.

Tensions remain high in the wake of the 11-day war in May between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza.

Abdullah’s standing in his own country may come up in the talks. Jordan’s image as an island of stability in the turbulent Middle East was called into question after Prince Hamza was accused of a plot to destabilize the country in April.

Biden has offered full support to Abdullah, who will be joined at the White House by his wife, Queen Rania.

“We have great confidence in the king’s leadership, and I think the visit over the course of the coming days will just reaffirm that confidence,” a senior Biden administration official said.

Other topics likely to come up are the future of the Trump-era Abraham Accords, the normalization deals reached between Israel and four Arab states, negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program and Syria’s humanitarian crisis, the official said.