Smoothing things over? President Herzog speaks with Jordan’s King Abdullah

July 11, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Israeli President Isaac Herzog spoke by phone with the King of Jordan, Abdullah II, who called on Saturday to congratulate him on his inauguration this week.

Newly elected Israeli President Isaac Herzog at a ceremony at Beit HaNasi, the official president’s residence in Jerusalem, July 7, 2021. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

“The conversation between the leaders was friendly and warm,” Herzog’s office stated.

Jordan’s official Petra News Agency stated that it was Herzog who called King Abdullah.

The President thanked King Abdullah “who expressed satisfaction with the return of diplomatic relations between the two countries to their normal course recently,” Herzog’s office said.

Herzog “stressed the importance of strategic relations between the countries in favour of the promotion of peace and regional development and stressed that he intends to continue to help strengthen the ties between the countries in various civic areas such as the economy and tourism.”

The two leaders agreed to “maintain ongoing contact with the aim of working together to promote cooperation between the countries for the benefit of their peoples and the entire region,” the statement said.

According to Petra News, Herzog “stressed the importance of working towards just and comprehensive peace on the basis of the two-state solution,” and King Abdullah “stressed the need to step up efforts to reach this solution, as the only way to achieve security, stability, and lasting peace in the region.”

The conversation between the two took place a day after the Israeli media exposed a secret meeting Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had with King Abdullah in Jordan in recent weeks, shortly after Bennett took office.

This exposure apparently caused embarrassment to the Jordanian monarch, who wished to keep the meeting a secret. Bennett’s office was reportedly forced to call the palace and apologize.

Following Bennett’s secret meeting in Jordan, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met with his Jordanian counterpart, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, in Jordan on Thursday and the two reached agreements on trade and water issues, apparently official finalization of the agreements reached between Bennett and King Abdullah.

On the issue of water, the ministers agreed that Israel will sell Jordan an additional 50 million cubic meters of water this year, an amount beyond what was stipulated in the peace agreements between the two countries.

Israel’s diplomatic relations with Jordan have been tense for years, and especially after the Hashemite Kingdom announced it would withdraw from part of the peace agreement with Israel.

While Jordan officially remains committed to the peace agreement, relations are limited largely to behind-the-scenes security ties and some environmental cooperation.

The Jordanians overwhelmingly reject the peace agreement and any form of normalization with Israel.

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