Jordan's King Abdullah arrives in Ramallah for first visit since 2012

August 7, 2017 13:08
1 minute read.
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Breaking news. (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)

Jordan's King Abdullah arrived Monday morning in Ramallah for talks with Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas.

While the two leaders meet fairly frequently in Amman and other regional capitals, Abdallah has not visited Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority, since December 2012.

The visit comes two weeks since a surge in violence in Jerusalem after Israel installed metal detectors at Muslim entrances to the Al Aqsa mosque compound, following the killing of two Israeli policemen.

The change in security led to days of protests and clashes between Palestinian worshippers and Israeli security forces before Israel, after consultations with Jordan, decided to remove the metal detectors and other measures.

Jordan has been the custodian of Jerusalem's Muslim holy sites since the 1920s. The compound, which sits on a tree-lined plateau in the Old City, is also revered by Jews, who call it Temple Mount, the site of two ancient Jewish temples.

Palestinian officials provided little detail on what Abbas and Abdallah would discuss, but said the situation at Al Aqsa and broader political concerns would be touched on.

"The visit comes in the course of continued consultation and coordination on all levels," said Nabil Abu Rudainah, Abbas's spokesman.

"They will also evaluate the current incidents happening in Jerusalem and in particular what happened at Al Aqsa mosque and the efforts exerted to resolve the crisis."

Jordan, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994 and has growing, if little discussed, economic ties with its neighbor, often plays a mediating role in the region.

With a large percentage of Jordan's population made up of Palestinians, and Jordan sharing a border with the West Bank, which the Palestinians want for their own state together with East Jerusalem and Gaza, its position is sensitive.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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