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King Abdullah visits Ramallah for first time in five years

King Abdullah of Jordan has met with Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

Although the pair regularly meet in Amman, King Abdullah’s visit marked his first trip to Ramallah in five years.  They are understood to have discussed the fallout of the recent crisis on the Temple Mount, the peace process and other regional issues.

Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudainah, said that “The visit comes in the course of continued consultation and coordination on all levels”.

According to the Jordanian outlet Petra News, both leaders stressed the need to preserve the historical and legal status quo on the Temple Mount, agreeing that any changes will have negative consequences for the region as a whole.

According to the terms of 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty, the Hashemite Kingdom retains custodianship over the Waqf, the Islamic foundation that administers the Temple Mount. King Abdullah reiterated that the country continues to uphold this role, in coordination with the international community.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki announced that a joint Palestinian-Jordanian team will be formed to deal with any future crises and to improve joint coordination over the Temple Mount.

Petra News also reports that the King highlighted “the commitment of [US President Donald] Trump to work toward achieving peace between Palestinians and Israelis,” and “stressed the importance of intensifying efforts to create real political prospects for progress toward resolving the conflict”.

In related news, Israel Hayom revealed that the Palestinians are demanding that Israeli diplomatic staff return to the Israeli Embassy in Amman as hundreds of Jordanian passports are awaiting processing for entry permits to Israel. Most of these belong to Jordanian citizens of Palestinian origin who want to visit relatives in Israel or the West Bank, or to businessmen with direct ties to the Jordanian Royal family or Abbas.

Staff were evacuated from the embassy last month after a Israeli guard shot two Jordanians while defending himself from a stabbing attack.