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Jordan's king tells Mike Pence U.S. must 'rebuild trust'

Jordan's king tells Mike Pence U.S. must 'rebuild trust'
From CBC - January 21, 2018

Jordan's King Abdullah II is appealing to U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence to "rebuild trust and confidence" after the Trump administration's recent decision to designate Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Abdullah, a staunch U.S. ally, said Sunday in Amman that he hopes to have "candid and frank" discussions with the visiting vice-president.

The Jerusalem decision announced last month has infuriated the Palestinians, who accuse the U.S. of siding with Israel and say Trump cannot serve as a mediator.

Abdullah noted that the U.S. decision was not part of a "comprehensive settlement" of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He says the U.S. now has a "major challenge to overcome."

Pence said after meeting Saturday with Egypt's President FatahAbdelel-Sissithat he emphasized the U.S. commitment to the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority.

Status quoon holy sites

The vice president said heassuredel-Sissithe U.S. was committed to "preserving the status quo with regard to holy sites in Jerusalem," and that borders and other issues would be negotiated between the parties.

El-Sissisaid in a statement after the meeting that he affirmed Egypt's "unyielding position" in support of the Palestinians' right to establish an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital. He said the conflict could only be resolved through negotiations leading to a two-state solution.

Israel views Jerusalem as its unified capital, while the Palestinians demand East Jerusalem, which was captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war, as the capital of their future state. A longstanding international consensus holds that the city's final status should be decided through negotiations, which was also U.S. policy going back decades.

Arab and Muslim nations support the Palestinians' claim to east Jerusalem, and the Trump administration's shift ignited protests across the region.

Embassy protest ahead of visit

Ahead of Pence's arrival, several dozen Jordanians gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in Amman, protesting against U.S. policies in the Middle East.

"America is the head of the snake," they chanted. Some held up a banner reading: "The envoy of the Zionist American right-wing is not welcome."

The Trump administration's dramatic policy shift on Jerusalem has posed a dilemma for Jordan's monarch, a staunch U.S. ally.

Palestinians make up a large segment of Jordan's population, and the rulingHashemitemonarchy derives some of its political legitimacy from its historic role as custodian of Jerusalem's main Muslim shrine, theAl-Aqsamosque, which is Islam's third holiest site.

U.S. aid to Jordan

Rejecting U.S. as mediator

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