U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release
January 8, 2019
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, Foreign Minister. Thank you, Foreign Minister Safadi. It’s an honor to meet with you today. I’m looking forward to meeting with His Majesty King Abdullah in just a little bit. I’m very pleased to be back here in Jordan, especially as our countries celebrate our 70th anniversary this year of diplomatic relations. I was here – I was here in this room on my very first trip as Secretary of State. I came here before I went to my office in Washington.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Indeed. It’s an indication, too, as my first stop on a multi-country trip, of the importance of the relationship between our two countries. Jordan is one of the United States’ enduring strategic partners in the region. It’s one of the many reasons we’re proud to help support you through the five-year foreign assistance MOU, of which you spoke. It’s worth over $6 billion, and it will be an important part of strengthening our relationship for the years ahead. Your nation plays a critical role in regional security and stability, including through its efforts to peacefully resolve the Syrian conflict, fight the spread of radical Islamic terrorism, and countering the Iranian regime’s malign activities in the region and the world.
We had a good conversation today. I reaffirmed our commitment under President Trump to working with King Abdullah’s government on many of our shared priorities. The United States remains firmly committed to Jordan’s domestic stability and security, and we will undertake that work in a true spirit of partnership. Just last year, our nations unveiled a new counterterrorism training center less than 50 miles south of where we stand even as I speak. The State Department, too, was proud to fund and construct that facility through our Antiterrorism Assistance Program. It is sharpening our terror-fighting tools and helping Jordan build its already strong capacity to fight terrorism.
We also look forward to working continually to counter Tehran’s malign influence in the region. Jordan made a powerful statement by recalling its ambassador to Tehran last year in protest of the Iranian regime’s flagrant transgressions of security and sovereignty. I also want to thank the Government of Jordan for its helping in – help to combat Iran’s attempt to evade sanctions.
And finally, I also expressed today my deep gratitude for King Abdullah’s leadership. He has continued to establish Jordan as a durable partner and leader in the region. We’re pleased to see your prime minister recently visit Iraq, as well as Iraqi President Salih’s visit to Jordan in November. We welcome this kind of engagement between nations of the region and we hope to see it replicated elsewhere.
His majesty the king is also undertaking important domestic initiatives, including economic reforms and protection of religious rights. And we know Jordan is also hosting over 650,000 thousand Syrian refugees, and we thank you and your people for their generosity.
On behalf of President Trump, we look forward to maintaining our joint efforts here in the Middle East, and I want to thank you again for hosting me here today. It’s great to be back.
QUESTION: Yes, hi, thank you. You both have spoken here about Syria, and so I’d like to ask a little bit about how we see that crisis, that situation continuing in the weeks and months to come. Minister – Secretary Pompeo, how do you intend – think you can – or intend to maintain the anti-Iran coalition with your allies here in the region, even as these same allies are welcoming Syria back into the fold, back into the Arab League and such? And at the same time, you are receiving pretty significant pushback from Turkey, which is another key player in this.
And Mr. – Minister Safadi, you spoke a little bit about the role of Jordan that you see in here, as the Americans leave. How do you see that? Are you worried about their departure? Is it premature? Do you see Jordanian troops having a role in this?
And then separately, you spoke about the Palestinian peace process. You mentioned the – East Jerusalem as a capital and a two-state solution, neither of which this administration has very wholeheartedly embraced. So now the – all eyes turn to the Golan Heights, where Bibi Netanyahu is asking for U.S. recognition of their sovereignty over that. What do you think should happen with the Golan Heights? Thanks.
SECRETARY POMPEO: I’m going to try to take the first question first if that’s okay. The counter-Iran revolution is – our coalition is as effective today as it was yesterday, and I’m very hopeful it will continue to be effective and even more effective tomorrow. This is not just about a particular tactic that we take amongst the coalition. This is about a combined understanding that the most significant threat to the region is Daesh and the Islamist revolution, and their revolutionary efforts in the region. There is – I won’t speak for Foreign Minister Safadi, but there is enormous agreement on the risk that that poses to Jordan and to other countries in the neighborhood, and that battle continues.
Our – the President’s decision to withdraw folks from Syria in no way impacts our capacity to deliver on that, and you’ll see in the coming days and weeks, we are – are we doubling not only our diplomatic but our commercial efforts to put real pressure on Iran to achieve what it is we set out for them back in May. And these are simple asks we ask of the Islamic Republic of Iran, to behave like a normal nation, and the coalition is just as committed to it today as it was yesterday.