Obama Briefly Meets Jordanian King Abdullah On DC Trip

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Getty Images
Washington, DC

President Obama met with King Abdullah II of Jordan briefly on Wednesday after initial reports that he was not going to have time on his schedule to meet face-to-face with the leader of the Hashemite Kingdom.

The President reportedly met with Abdullah at Andrews Air Force Base before taking off for Omaha, Nebraska on Wednesday.

“A meeting with the president will be arranged during an upcoming visit, likely to take place within the coming month or two,” a Jordanian official initially told AFP.

“The president regrets that he is unable to meet with him personally on this visit due to scheduling conflicts, including the State of the Union address,” a White House spokesperson said Tuesday.

Abdullah’s Jordan, which is part of the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State, has also received tens of thousands of Syrian refugees who fled the war-torn state.

The Jordanian King met Monday with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. In the meeting, Carter showed his “deep appreciation… for Jordan’s continued contributions to regional counter-[Islamic State] efforts,” said Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook.

On Tuesday, Abdullah met with Vice President Joe Biden, along with several prominent congressional leaders.

On Wednesday, he met with members of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. There, he “stressed the importance of intensifying international efforts and addressing challenges to bring about peace and stability in the region,” according to the Kingdom’s state-run Jordan News Agency.

The King underlined the need to adopt a holistic strategic approach to defeat terrorism and uproot criminal gangs,” the state-agency reported. “On the situation in Iraq, King Abdullah stressed the need to support efforts of the Iraqi government to make further progress in fighting the Daesh terror group.”

Abdullah asked members of Congress and Obama officials to continue to support Jordan in its fight against terror groups. The parties discussed the strain on the economy caused by the absorption of Syrian refugees, which limits the resources they can devote to the war against Islamic State.

He was invited to address congressional Republicans on Wednesday evening at their retreat in Baltimore, but turned down the offer, worrying about the optics of that situation, according to reports.

The President got off to a late start on Wednesday, receiving the Presidential Daily Briefing at 11:00 AM ET, according to his schedule. He plans to deliver remarks in Omaha, Nebraska later this evening. Then he will fly to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he will stay overnight.