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

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid