King of Jordan becomes first Arab leader to speak with President-elect Biden
President-elect Joe Biden on Monday spoke with King Abdullah II of Jordan, making Abdullah the first Arab leader to speak with Biden following the former vice president’s election this month.
Biden also spoke with the head of NATO and European Union leaders, conversations that come as President Trump has refused to concede the election and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, while on a 10-day diplomatic trip in Europe and the Middle East, has insisted the U.S. election process is inconclusive with votes still being counted.
In his call with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Biden reaffirmed the U.S.’s “enduring” commitment to the organization, including the “bedrock principle” of Article 5 — the mutual defense pact between member nations. The president-elect also spoke with Stoltenberg about ensuring NATO has the capabilities to confront challenges related to deterrence of new and emerging threats, including climate change and global health security.
His statements stand in contrast to Trump’s antagonism toward the alliance early in his presidency. The president at first refused to publicly assert the U.S. commitment to Article 5 and has repeatedly chastised members for not paying more for the alliance’s defense.
Biden also spoke with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel, expressing U.S. commitment to the relationship with the EU, working together on trade, revitalizing the economy, confronting shared challenges and promoting democracy.
In his call with Jordan’s king, Biden expressed his determination to strengthen the U.S. and Jordanian strategic partnership and expressed his thanks for the Jordanian government’s hosting of refugees from Syria and other regions.
The president-elect also said he hopes to work closely with Abdullah on containing COVID-19, combating climate change, countering terrorism and other regional security challenges.
Biden also offered his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli and Palestinian conflict.
The Jordanian Foreign Ministry, in a statement on Twitter, said the king expressed “keenness” to continue bolstering the strategic relationship between the U.S. and Jordan and expand cooperation.
While Biden has received congratulatory statements from many Arab world leaders, the phone call with Jordan’s sovereign is the first official contact the president-elect has had with the Arab world.
It comes as Pompeo is finishing up a visit to the region — visiting Israel, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia — where he introduced new policies strengthening U.S. commitment to Israel’s settlements, considered illegal by the international community, and reinforced the Trump administration’s policy to isolate Iran.