President Obama today praised His Majesty King Abdullah of Jordan for his leadership in encouraging peace and prosperity throughout the Middle East during what the President described as "an extraordinary time."
Developments since the two leaders last met include new governments emerging in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia and a transition taking place in Yemen, as well as the current volatility in Syria. Today's conversation included those topics, and also the importance of both countries continuing to encourage the Palestinians and the Israelis to seriously negotiate a peaceful way forward.
The President highlighted the efforts that have been made by King Abdullah and Jordan's Prime Minister in guiding political reform inside their country. "I think His Majesty has been ahead of the curve in trying to respond to the legitimate concerns and aspirations, both politically and economically, of the Jordanian population," he said. President Obama said the most pressing issue at the moment is the situation in Syria:
His Majesty was the first Arab leader to publicly call on President Assad to step down, in the face of the terrible brutality we’ve been seeing inside of Syria.
I want to thank him for his willingness to stand up. As a consequence, Jordan has been part of an overall Arab League effort to encourage this sort of peaceful transition inside of Syria that is needed.
Unfortunately, we’re continuing to see unacceptable levels of violence inside that country, and so we will continue to consult very closely with Jordan to create the kind of international pressure and environment that encourages the current Syrian regime to step aside so that a more democratic process of transition can take place inside of Syria.