News / Middle East

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

Obama, Jordan's King Discuss Syria Refugees, Extremist Risksi
X
March 23, 2013 1:26 PM
On the final leg of his Middle East trip, 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. VOA White House correspondent Dan Robinson reports on their news conference in the Jordanian capital.

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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid