News / Middle East

Obama Pledges $200 Million to Jordan for Syrian Refugees

President Obama, left, and Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman, Jordan March 22, 2013
President Obama, left, and Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman, Jordan March 22, 2013
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VOA News

U.S. President Barack Obama has praised Jordanian King Abdullah for taking a stand against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying Washington will give an additional $200 million to Jordan to help shoulder the burden of refugees fleeing into that country.
 

Speaking at a joint press conference in Amman on Friday following talks with King Abdullah, Obama commended the Jordanian monarch for being "the first Arab leader to call on Assad to step down."


King Abdullah, who noted that as many as 460,000 Syrian refugees are in Jordan, said his country will not close the border for refugees. He stressed the need for the international community to help resolve what he called a "humanitarian calamity."


In addition to bilateral and strategic issues, the two leaders say they discussed the Israeli-Palestinian issue during closed-door talks.


Obama Visits Holocaust Memorial, Church of Nativity, as Middle East Visit Continuesi
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March 22, 2013 2:31 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama is winding down a visit to Israel and the West Bank that has included talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders and calls for the two sides to resume peace efforts. Mr. Obama on Friday called for tolerance during a visit to Israel's Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem. Jeff Custer Reports.

Both reiterated the need for peace talks to resume. Obama warned that the "window of opportunity" for such talks was slowly closing, while King Abdullah added that the two-state solution is "the only way to go."


Obama will attend a state dinner later this evening, and travel to Petra on Saturday.


Obama arrived in Jordan Friday following a visit to Israel and the West Bank that included talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders and calls for the two sides to resume peace efforts.


Earlier Friday, he traveled to Bethlehem to join Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for a tour of the Church of the Nativity, the site where Christians believe Jesus was born.


Also Friday, the U.S. president visited Israel's Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, where he called for tolerance against others.


"This is our obligation: not simply to bear witness, but to act. For us, in our time, this means confronting bigotry and hatred in all of its forms, racism, especially anti-Semitism, none of that has a place in the civilized world," Obama said.

 

Accompanied by Israeli President Shimon Peres and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama spoke after viewing the Hall of Names: a circular room ringed by thousands of volumes containing names of people killed in the Holocaust.


During his visit to Israel, the president took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the graves of Theodor Herzl - the founder of the movement to establish a Jewish state - and slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.


On Thursday, in a speech to university students in Jerusalem, Obama assured his audience of young Israelis that they are "not alone" in facing threats to Israel's security. He added that peace with the Palestinians is the "only path to true security."


Obama said Israeli leaders must recognize that "continued settlement activity" on land the Palestinians claim for a state is "counterproductive." Obama also said he believes Israel has a genuine peace partner in Palestinian President Abbas.
 

Accompanied by Peres and Netanyahu, Obama spoke after viewing the Hall of Names: a circular room ringed by thousands of volumes containing names of people killed in the Holocaust.

During his visit to Israel, the president took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the graves of Theodor Herzl - the founder of the movement to establish a Jewish state - and slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

On Thursday, in a speech to university students in Jerusalem, Obama assured his audience of young Israelis that they are "not alone" in facing threats to Israel's security. He added that peace with the Palestinians is the "only path to true security."

Obama said Israeli leaders must recognize that "continued settlement activity" on land the Palestinians claim for a state is "counterproductive." Obama also said he believes Israel has a genuine peace partner in Palestinian President Abbas.

Israeli press reported Friday that Obama met with Netanyahu for several hours Friday to brief the Israeli prime minister on his talks with Abbas.

  • U.S. President Barack Obama walks with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, right, upon his arrival at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, Jordan, March 22, 2013.
  • Obama tours the Hall of Names during his visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, March 22, 2013. With him are Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev and Israeli President Shimon Peres.
  • President Obama with Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, left, after visiting the Hall of Remembrance at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, Israel, March 22, 2013.
  • Obama shares a laugh with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during an official state dinner hosted by Israel's President Shimon Peres (not pictured) in Jerusalem, March 21, 2013.
  • Members of the audience listen as President Obama delivers a speech on Mideast policy at the Jerusalem Convention Center, March 21, 2013.
  • Obama interacts with children as he tours the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, March 22, 2013.
  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas walks with  Obama at the Muqata Presidential Compound in the West Bank town of Ramallah, March 21, 2013.
  • President Obama lays a wreath at the grave of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at Mt Herzl in Jerusalem March 22, 2013.
  • Rows of police officers on standby during Obama's visit in the West Bank city of Ramallah, March 21, 2013.
  • President Obama shakes hands with Israeli children as he is welcomed in Jerusalem, March 20, 2013.
  • U.S. President Obama, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speak with greeters at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, March 20, 2013.
  • Israeli soldiers walk towards their positions as they prepare for an official ceremony to welcome President Obama at Ben Gurion International Airport, near Tel Aviv, Israel, March 20, 2013.
  • Posters calling for Obama to free Jonathan Pollard from a U.S. prison on display in Jerusalem, March 20, 2013.

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Comments
     
by: Sam from: US
March 24, 2013 12:08 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/


by: existanceonly from: Rio Hondo Tx
March 23, 2013 10:52 AM
Giving 200 million and closed the whitehouse for tours for lack of funds. Alright thats about par for his coarse. If you give 200 million here and a few billiuon there pretty soon your talking serious money. Are you not?


by: Anonymous
March 23, 2013 12:38 AM
The Slaughter Rampage across Syria inflicted by Bashar al Assad, is not only costing Syrian Lives but also millions of dollars for other countries. Nobody wants this happening in Syria. Bashar must be stopped NOW.


by: Dr. Hanz Fritz from: Germany
March 22, 2013 4:17 PM
Mr Hollenbrook, I agree with you that the UK pits the US against the EU in a sordid attempt to extract concessions from each. but i am less sure that the US is unaware of this revolting treachery. I also think that the close US Israel connection is a cause of irritation for the UK, which expresses itself as a consistent and sustained degradation of the US and Israel to undermine their incredible bond. I am also happy to tell you that Germany has been making incredible strides to join this unique alliance - the guardians of civilized secular enlightened societies. there can be no peaceful coexistence between this unique US/Israel enlightened libertarian ideal and an autocratic demonic totalitarian fascist Muslim ideology.


by: Hollenbrook from: UK
March 22, 2013 12:27 PM
we all know of the close friendship and intimate connection between the US and Israel... which is by far stronger than the US and the UK - the UK feels that alliance with the US is a liability that the UK has to bargain for and leverage against Europe...


by: david lulasa from: tambua,gimarakwa,hamisi,v
March 22, 2013 8:44 AM
are our problems we always talk about actually something just normal?there are sad stories of the poor in yemen,oman,africa etcand yet still,they are in already republics...i realise that peace might not result to ending poverty or whatever..therefore,palestines solution is not a state of their own necessarilly..what jews and palestinians need is brotherliness even if its not 100% peace,not state hoods..and furthermore,is anyone thinking of creating their own small state or big state just because its the idea of the moment or that they are actually trying something new?


by: JohnWV from: USA
March 22, 2013 6:28 AM
Besieged Palestinian Gaza is an experiment in provocation. Stuff one and a half million people into a tiny space, stifle their access to water, electricity, food and medical treatment, destroy their livelihoods, and humiliate them regularly...and, surprise, surprise - they turn hostile. Now why would you want to make that experiment? Because the hostility you provoke is the whole point. Now under attack you can cast yourself as the victim, and call out the helicopter gunships and the F16 attack fighters and the heavy tanks and the guided missiles, and destroy yet more of the pathetic remains of infrastructure that the Palestinian state still has left. And then you can point to it as a hopeless case, unfit to govern itself, a terrorist state, a state with which you couldn't possibly reach an accommodation. And then you can carry on with business as usual, quietly stealing their homeland.


by: JohnWV from: USA
March 22, 2013 5:32 AM
Since Imperial Rome, it has happened again and again. Jews enraged their host countries and repeatedly suffered disastrous pogroms. Excesses of Weimar Germany's monied Jewish minority led to the most recent which Israel promotes, actually advertises, as justification for its apartheid malevolence. “Never again” is lost on Netanyahu's Israel. Blind to history, its paranoid pursuit of invulnerability, territorial conquest and racist empire ensures “again” on a far grander scale. Abandoning and aggressively isolating the Jewish state could force it abandon its grandiose aspirations and thereby avert its destruction. There is no greater or kinder support that America could render to both the Mideast and its “inseparable Mideast ally.

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