Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi, met at the Allenby border crossing between Israel and Jordan on Tuesday. It was their third meeting.
The ministers “discussed promoting commercial, economic and civic cooperation between the countries as well as with the Palestinians,” the Foreign Ministry said.
Among issues discussed in the meeting on the Jordanian side of the border were trade, imports and exports, water, tourism and consular issues. They also talked about regional developments and confronting the coronavirus pandemic.
Following the meeting, the Jordanian Foreign Ministry tweeted: “It is necessary to resume serious and effective negotiations to achieve a just and comprehensive peace based on the two-state solution that embodies the independent Palestinian state with occupied Jerusalem as its capital on the June 4, 1967 lines, to live in peace and security alongside Israel in accordance with international law and the Arab Peace Initiative.”
Israel should “stop building and expanding settlements, demolishing homes and other illegal practices that undermine the two-state solution and all chances of achieving a just peace,” Safadi said.
“All the peace agreements signed by Israel with the Arab countries, including the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel, cannot be a substitute for solving the Palestinian issue,” the Jordanian Foreign Ministry said.
The statement did not mention that Safadi had met with Ashkenazi.
Ashkenazi has met with Safadi twice before to discuss ways to strengthen ties between the countries, and the directors-general of the two foreign ministries met several weeks ago.
Israel is trying to accommodate Jordan as it seeks to increase trade with the Palestinian Authority.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz recently met with Jordanian King Abdullah.
“It is possible to advance ties” with Jordan, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “presence interferes with the advancement of [the] relations,” Gantz said in a Zoom call with Blue and White activists over the weekend.
Also on Tuesday, Netanyahu welcomed the United Arab Emirates’ first ambassador to Israel, Muhammad Mahmoud Al Khaja, who arrived on Monday for a four-day visit.
“We are changing the Middle East; we are changing the world,” Netanyahu told Khaja.
They discussed potential joint regional and bilateral projects for Israel and the UAE in a wide range of areas, the Prime Minister’s Office said.
The meeting was “warm and friendly,” and National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat participated, the PMO said.
Khaja visited Yad Vashem on Tuesday.
He is expected to look for a site for the UAE’s embassy and his residence in the coming days and plans to return to Israel full-time at the end of the month.
The Ashkenazi-Safadi meeting and Khaja’s arrival came amid a general increase in meetings and phone calls between Israeli officials and their counterparts in Arab states.
Ashkenazi spoke with the foreign minister of Oman on Monday, and Netanyahu spoke with the crown prince of Bahrain last week, among others.
The meetings and phone calls are taking place as Israel is in talks with several Arab states to form a defense alliance against common foes such as Iran, an official confirmed earlier this week.