News / Middle East

Obama, Jordan's King Discuss Syria Refugees, Extremist Risks

On the final leg of his Middle East trip, U.S. President Barack Obama and King Abdullah of Jordan discussed the serious impact of Syria's civil war on the region. 

The talks also covered Israel-Palestinian peace efforts. 

Mr. Obama visited Jordan to reaffirm support for the longtime strategic ally of the United States, especially now as Jordan bears the burden of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees.

At a joint news conference, King Abdullah said Jordan will not turn refugees away, but needs help with the costs, now $550 million a year and climbing.

The king said, "What we are facing now today obviously is an urgent need for the international community to help in humanitarian assistance to catch up with the challenges we are facing as countries bordering Syria."

King Abdullah said there are now 460,000 refugees in Jordan and the number could double. He said there is a need to increase stockpiling of supplies inside Syria, and aid for those who have fled.

Obama concerned about Syria

President Obama said he is working with Congress to provide $200 million in additional budget support for Jordan.

The talks also covered concerns about prolonged sectarian conflict and what the king called possible "fragmentation" of Syria, with disastrous regional consequences.

Mr. Obama said he is very concerned about Syria becoming "an enclave" for extremist groups, saying that is why the U.S. continues working with partners to support a viable Syrian opposition.

The president said, "Even if we execute our assistance and our coordination and our planning and our support flawlessly, the situation in Syria now is going to be difficult and that is what happens when you have a leader who cares more about clinging to power than they do about holding their country together and looking after their people."

King discusses Assad's future

King Abdullah seemed to backtrack on his offer of asylum for the Syrian leader, saying the question is something that would have be discussed at a higher level by the international community.

The king said, "Obviously from our point of view we are saying we need an inclusive political transition as soon as possible so if the issue of asylum ever came up that is something that I think all of us would have to put our heads together and figure out whether or not if that sort of ends the violence quickly is something worth pursuing."

President Obama was asked about the threat by Iran's spiritual leader Ayatollah Khameini to destroy Israeli cities if military action is taken against its nuclear facilities.

He avoided a direct answer, but said nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran would be a problem for all nations.

Mr. Obama said, "This is not just a problem for Israel, it is not just a problem for the United States, it is a regional and worldwide problem."

King Abdullah said any military conflict with Iran would exacerbate existing problems in the Middle East.

"Any military action at the moment, whether Israeli or Iranian, to me at this stage is Pandora box because no one can guarantee what the outcome will be," said the king.  "So hopefully there is another way of resolving this problem.  At a time of so much instability in the Middle East we just don't need another thing on our shoulders."

Jordan's neighbors continue feud

The two men also discussed Mr. Obama's talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. King Abdullah said Jordan is ready to act as a "facilitator" for renewed efforts to re-start direct negotiations for a two state solution.

President Obama said his approach was to listen first and discuss ways to remove roadblocks, acknowledging his approach has been modest because ultimately it is up to the parties to want peace.

Mr. Obama ends his Mideast trip Saturday with a visit to the ancient city of Petra in Jordan before leaving for Washington.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sam from: US
March 24, 2013 12:09 PM
Desperation on the part of the Jordanian government has led the US to assist in strengthening the nation’s defenses during a time of regional crisis. An article at International Policy Digest explores how the war in Syria is affecting Jordanian security and stability.

http://www.internationalpolicydigest.org/2013/03/23/gimme-shelter-jordans-refugee-past-makes-for-an-unsure-future/

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More