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Jordan’s King Abdullah To Visit U.S.; Trump Meeting Uncertain

Jordan's King Abdullah
Jordan's King Abdullah

Jordan's King Abdullah will travel to Washington on January 30 to meet with U.S. officials, although it remains uncertain if he will hold talks with President Donald Trump.

Officials said Abdullah is scheduled to meet with Vice President Mike Pence on January 30 for a breakfast meeting at his Naval Observatory residence in Washington.

The king will also meet congressional leaders, senators, and senior officials, including Defense Secretary James Mattis, according to officials and diplomats.

One official said a meeting would likely be arranged with Trump, but there has been no formal confirmation.

The fight against Islamic State (IS) militants and Russia's role in the Middle East are likely to be on the agenda, Jordanian officials said.

"The king will seek a stepped-up campaign against [Islamic State] extremists and secure extra resources to help ensure the militants would not be allowed to move towards our borders," the Reuters news agency quoted one official as saying on condition of anonymity.

Pro-Western Jordan has taken part in a U.S.-led air campaign against IS militants in Iraq and Syria, and it has experienced deadly IS attacks on its territory.

Abdullah has a close personal relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and went to Moscow last week, signaling Russia's growing role in the Middle East.

"Without Russia, we will not be able to find solutions to not only the Syrian problem but other regional problems in the Middle East," Abdullah told reporters in Moscow, adding that he and Putin shared "the same vision of bringing stability to our region."

Two officials told Reuters that the king was pleased that the new administration would focus on security, as opposed to the Obama administration's emphasis on political reforms, which was seen by many in Jordan as interference.

The king, who turned 55 on January 29, will be the first Arab leader to meet with the new administration.

He comes as the Trump administration’s immigration clampdown, including a ban on visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, has caused an uproar in the United States and abroad.

Jordan isn't among the countries affected by Trump's immigration order.

With reporting by Reuters and AP
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