SECRETARY BLINKEN: Good afternoon, everyone. It is very good to welcome my friend, Ayman Safadi, the foreign minister of Jordan, here to the State Department and to Washington. Needless to say, we’re very focused on the situation in Israel, West Bank, Gaza, very deeply concerned about the rocket attacks that we are seeing now that need to stop and need to stop immediately, and also, of course, concerns about the violence, provocative actions in and around the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount. That violence needs to cease. All sides need to de-escalate, reduce tensions, take practical steps to calm things down. I appreciate some of the steps we’ve seen in the last – of the last 24 hours, particularly with regard to rerouting the parade and putting off the decision on the evictions, but it’s imperative that all sides take steps to de-escalate and calm the situation. And again, I’m deeply concerned about the rocket attacks. And even as all sides take steps to de-escalate, Israel, of course, has a right to defend its people and its territory from these attacks.
I know that the foreign minister and I will have opportunity to discuss this. We have a lot else on our agenda as well. Jordan knows that President Biden is a long and strong friend of Jordan, and Jordan has been a long and strong friend of the United States – the closest of partners in dealing with the many challenges that we face together in the region, a very valued and trusted advisor as we confront these issues, as well as some of the real opportunities that are out there. So I’m looking forward to a conversation that covers a lot of this territory.
Meanwhile, Ayman, welcome. It’s very good to have you here.
FOREIGN MINISTER SAFADI: Good afternoon. And thank you so much, Mr. Secretary, for your kind words. I’m looking forward to what I know will be extremely instructive and useful conversation between two friends and two allies, particularly at this very, very critical situation. We’re all trying to tackle the extremely dangerous situation in Jerusalem. We’ve repeatedly said in Jordan that Jerusalem is a redline and that maintaining peace and stability in Jerusalem is key. Our focus right now on ensuring that the escalation stops, and for that to happen we do believe that all immediate provocative measures against either the peoples of Sheikh Jarrah or in terms of the violations into al-Haram must stop, status quo needs to be preserved, and the rights of the Palestinians need to be respected so that we calm the situation and create the political horizon that the U.S., Jordan and all of us want to see towards a lasting, comprehensive peace that would address the rights of all peoples on the basis of the two-state solution.
So today, priority is stop the escalation, make sure that international law is respected, rights of Palestinians, rights of worshippers are upheld, status quo is preserved, and move forward with creating that political horizon.
The United States has a leading role to play – it has the leading role to play, in fact, in terms of trying to bring about the peace and stability that we all want. We all believe in peace as strategic choice; nobody is doing anybody a favor by opting for peace. It’s a right for all. We know the formula of the two-state solution is the one that will get us there. And again, we do look forward to the leadership of the United States at this effort, because this is something that is a common objective for all of us.
As the Secretary said, Jordan and the United States have enjoyed a tremendously strong historical partnership. This is a partnership of which we are proud. His Majesty King Abdullah is looking forward to coming here and engaging with the President as well as the rest of the administration on how we can move forward not just in the interests of the goals for our country, but also their interest of peace, stability, prosperity in the region. We are proud of this relationship, and we do look forward to what I know will be extremely useful and important discussions with the Secretary on, again, addressing the challenges and dangerous situation in the West Bank and Jerusalem right now, but also in the rest of the region. We have a lot of good work that we do together – on fighting terrorism to supporting the stability in Iraq, looking for answers to political solutions in the crises in Syria, Libya and Yemen. And again, in all that we’re partners, we seek the same objective, and we’ll continue to be working together.
So again, sir, thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity. On behalf of His Majesty, on behalf of all of us in Jordan, a big thank you to the United States for the tremendous support that it has shown the kingdom historically and in terms of trying to deal with the many challenges that we are facing, unfortunately, in a very troubled part of the world.
Thank you so much.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you. Thank you all.