Jordanian foreign minister makes unannounced visit to West Bank for Abbas meeting

Ahead of Israel's proposed annexation of parts of the West Bank, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi flew to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

al-monitor Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi attends a news conference with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, following their talks in Moscow, Russia, Feb. 19, 2020.  Photo by REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina.

Jun 18, 2020

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi made an unannounced trip to the West Bank Thursday to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas ahead of Israel’s proposed annexation of parts of the region next month.    

Safadi visited Ramallah to “convey a message” to Abbas that “comes within the framework of continuous coordination and consultation,” according to a tweet from the Jordanian Foreign Ministry.   

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that Safadi planned to brief Abbas on King Abdullah II's discussions with Arab leaders, including UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, about annexation. After their phone call Wednesday, the crown prince tweeted that the UAE would be “working with our Arab brethren [and] the international community against this illegal move.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank as well as all of the Jordan Valley. Under a unity deal reached between Netanyahu and his deputy, Benny Gantz, the government can move forward with the annexation issue in the Cabinet or parliament as soon as July 1, on condition of American approval.  

Jordan has condemned the plan to annex the West Bank — land occupied by Israel since its capture in the Six-Day War of 1967. Palestinians envision the West Bank, along with east Jerusalem and Gaza, as part of a future state and have warned annexation would put an end to hopes of establishing one. 

Jordan, one of just two Arab states with an Israeli peace treaty, has indicated annexation could threaten the pact. In an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel last month, Abdullah said he was considering “all options” were Israel to extend sovereignty over the contested areas.  

“If Israel really annexed the West Bank in July, it would lead to a massive conflict with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan," he said.

Abdullah held virtual meetings with key US lawmakers earlier this week, during which he reiterated “Jordan’s steadfast position on the Palestinian cause” and said that any annexation measure would undermine prospects for peace.

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