Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Jordan's King Abdullah II meets Israeli PM Netanyahu

Two leaders discuss situation in Al-Aqsa Mosque and importance of respecting historical and legal status quo

Jordans King Abdullah II (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. — Reuters/File
Jordan's King Abdullah II (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. — Reuters/File 

AMMAN: Jordan's King Abdullah II on Tuesday hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Amman in a rare meeting as relations between the two leaders have been strained for years.

The royal palace said they discussed the situation in Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and "the importance of respecting the historical and legal status quo".

Netanyahu, who previously served as prime minister from 2009 to 2021, returned to power last month at the head of a coalition that includes extreme-right and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties.

On January 3, Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visited the sensitive Jordanian-administered Jerusalem holy site, sparking a wave of international condemnation.

Netanyahu's office said the Israeli leader discussed "regional issues" and bilateral ties with the Jordanian king.

The two leaders last met in Jordan in 2018.

Tuesday's visit to Amman was Netanyahu's first official trip abroad since taking office.

Jordan in 1994 became the second Arab country to recognise and sign a peace treaty with neighbouring Israel, after Egypt.