Kerry Makes Surprise Visit to Jordan to Discuss Talks
US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Jordan on Friday for talks with King Abdullah II on the ongoing talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), a US spokeswoman travelling with him announced.
AFP notes that the trip to Aqaba, where he was to meet with King Abdullah II, had not been previously announced.
"We are arriving in Aqaba, Jordan, with (Jordanian) Foreign Minister (Nasser) Judeh today to see King Abdullah to talk about the peace process," State Department spokesman Marie Harf said. Kerry is returning from a trip to Rome with his Jordanian counterpart.
Jordan has demanded to participate in the negotiation process more than once, noting that talks to give the Jordan Valley region to the PA would affect security conditions along the Jordanian border.
King Abdullah and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently met in Amman, where they discussed the ongoing negotiations. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas also recently met with the Jordanian King, and the two “exchanged views” about unifying their positions on Kerry's initiative.
Foreign Minister Judeh recently reiterated that Jordan will not be an "alternative home for anybody," indicating the Palestinian Arabs who already make up a majority of the country.
Tensions have also risen recently between Israel and Jordan, after a debate on religious freedom on the Temple Mount prompted several Islamist MPs last week to vote to eject the Israeli Ambassador to Amman from Jordan.
Later that week, Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur threatened to revoke the 1994 peace treaty with Israel over the possibility that Jews would gain the freedom to pray at Judaism's holiest site.