US, Jordan Vow Close Cooperation on Mideast Peace

Posted January 17th, 2012 at 4:50 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama met with Jordan's King Abdullah at the White House Tuesday, and both leaders pledged to consult closely to try to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

President Obama said the U.S. and Jordan will encourage the two sides to come back to the table and negotiate in what he described as “a serious fashion.”

Appearing with Mr. Obama after their meeting, the Jordanian king pointed out that the effort is still in the early stages, saying, “we have to keep our fingers crossed.”

Jordan has been mediating talks to bring the Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table, with support from the international Middle East Quartet .

Meetings convened in Amman this month represent the first known contact between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators since peace talks broke down in September 2010 over the issue of Israeli settlement construction on occupied land.

The U.S. and Jordanian leaders also discussed other issues plaguing the Middle East, including Iraq, Iran and the violent crackdown on anti-government protesters in Syria.

President Obama called the violence in Syria “unacceptable” and vowed to continue to work with Jordan to increase international pressure and push Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government to step down.

Mr. Obama also outlined plans to help Jordan with its economic struggles and efforts toward political reform. He said the U.S. is providing food security assistance to Jordan, as well as working to encourage entrepreneurship and business development.

King Abdullah said he and his government are “very, very optimistic” about the situation.