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FOREIGN MINISTER SAFADI: It is a great pleasure to welcome you here in Jordan. You are no stranger to Amman; you’ve been here many, many times before. And I think you know firsthand how strong and how solid our friendship and our partnership is. And your visiting with us so early into your assumption in your responsibilities as Secretary of State is yet another sign of how valuable that partnership and how solid that friendship is.
I look forward to continue to working with you, sir, on building our relationship, strengthening our bilateral ties, but also strengthening our partnership, which has done a lot of good at bad times for the causes of peace, stability, and security that we pursue as common objectives. So you are here as a friend and (inaudible).
Our partnership is one in pursuit of peace and stability, as I said. We value that, and we also value the tremendous support that the United States has continued to give Jordan throughout the years. The new MOU which we just recently signed, the first under President Trump and the largest ever to Jordan, is extremely important to our efforts to carry out our necessary economic reforms and to enable us to meet our defense (inaudible). For that again we thank you, sir.
Our talks today offered a tremendous opportunity to go over an array of issues, many of the challenges that we face. Again, the conversation was focused on how we can continue to work together to bring about peace and stability to the region and we will continue to coordinate and cooperate as we try to resolve many of the conflicts and crises that have denied peoples of the region the peace and stability and opportunity that they deserve. Key to that, as you know, for us in Jordan is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This is, we believe, the main cause of instability in the region, and its resolution is the key to achieving the lasting and comprehensive peace that we want. The two-state solution remains the only path to that peace, as we believe in Jordan, and it is the solution that would allow for the emergence of an independent, sovereign Palestine state with East Jerusalem as its capital in the lines of June 4, 1967. There is a deadlock in these efforts now, and we know that the status quo cannot be maintained. We have a difficult situation but the challenge is always to make sure that this difficult situation does not get worse. We in Jordan are committed to doing everything we can in cooperation with our partner in the U.S. and others in the international community to make sure that we create political horizons and move towards achieving that solution.
Yes, that � the two-state solution is being challenged. Yes, there are many obstacles. But I think what is � what is the alternative? We cannot give up in our efforts to achieve peace, nor can we say that there is any viable alternative that we can sustain.
The Secretary and I are also in agreement on Syria. We need a political solution that will preserve the integrity and sovereignty of the Syrian � of Syria and a solution that will be acceptable to the Syrian people. We believe Geneva is the path to achieve that solution on the basis of 2254. The de-escalation zone in the south is an example of U.S., Jordanian, and Russian cooperation. That zone has saved a lot of lives, has prevented against further destruction, has prevented against new waves of refugees, and we in Jordan are hosts to over 1.3 million Syrians, so that is a tremendous pressure that we have. And that zone has helped mitigate all those risks. We, again, are continuing to preserve that zone and work towards a peaceful solution to Syria and that zone and that deal (inaudible) political � ultimate political solution to the Syrian crisis.
The war on terror is a war that we fight together. Terrorists are outside our humanity; the second we do not belong to any culture, to any civilization, to any � they are outside of our humanity. As his majesty says, they are thugs, they are outlaws. We fight that war in defense of our people, in defense of our security, but also in defense of our common values and in defense of our � of the values of peace and respect that Islam embodies. So we continue to be partners and this is a war that we fought side by side, and we appreciate the U.S. leadership in this effort, which again has achieved tremendous successes last year as we defeated ISIS in Syria and we deprived them the territorial control.
The challenges are enormous and they continue to be so, and this is the Middle East, and there’s never a dull moment, as they say. But with friends like you, sir, we know that we will continue to be able to tackle them, and I � and we look forward in Jordan to working with you on achieving the peace and stability that this region wants. And again, I welcome you here and I look forward to many further meetings. Thank you, sir.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thanks for the kind words, Foreign Minister Safadi. It’s wonderful to be here. Thank you for the incredibly warm welcome I received here today. I’m thrilled to be here in Jordan on my very first trip as Secretary of State. I told the foreign minister that I came here before I went to my office. So I’m kind of on my way to work. (Laughter.)
I came here to signal how important Jordan is to the United States. Our partnership is essential to both countries, our friendship between America and His Majesty King Abdullah, and I wanted to come here also to reaffirm all of those ties. This is indispensable to our two nations and I think to the region as well.
As President Trump said when he welcomed King Abdullah to the White House, we are deeply committed to preserving our strong relationship and to strengthening America’s longstanding support for Jordan. Support for Jordan’s security and stability is an important national interest of the United States. We want the Jordanian people to know this. We want you to know that our commitment to your country is firm. The United States is the single largest donor of economic, security, and humanitarian assistance to Jordan. We’re quite proud of that. We think it’s the right thing to do.
In February, the United States and Jordan signed a new five-year MOU in which we committed to provide over $6.3 billion in bilateral foreign assistance to Jordan over the next five years. This increase comes at a time when Jordan is facing an adverse impact of conflict on its border. The conflict raging in Syria remains a threat to Jordanian peace and security. We’ll continue to work with Jordan to help the Kingdom defend its borders, always. We must not let Syria again become a safe haven for ISIS or for any other terrorist group.
The United States goals for Syria are clear: defeat ISIS; ensure the safe delivery of humanitarian aid; de-escalate the violence � something we spoke about at some length this morning; deter the use of chemical weapons; and ultimately, support a political resolution to the conflict. We remain fully committed to the ceasefire arrangement in southwest Syria. The United States strongly supports the UN efforts in Geneva to end this conflict which has gone on for far too many years.
Throughout the Syrian crisis, Jordan has provided an extraordinary level of assistance to the Syrian people. Thank you so much. We know it’s costly and we know it’s difficult, but your leadership of your neighbors at this incredibly challenging time is extraordinary. The United States, too, has helped Jordan manage this refugee influx, providing nearly $1.1 billion in humanitarian aid to Jordan since the start of the conflict in Syria.
Turning to Middle East peace, when the President announced that the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, he also announced that the United States is not taking a position on boundaries or borders, and will support a two-state solution if the parties agree to it. The specific boundaries of Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem remain subject to negotiation between those parties. The United States continues to support the status quo with regard to the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount, and as Vice President Pence reaffirmed just in January here in Amman, we are committed to continuing to respect Jordan’s special role as the custodian of those holy sites in Jerusalem. We will continue to work for peace in the great hope of offering the best outcome for both the Israeli and Palestinian people.
Finally, both of our countries know the threat that Iran poses to the region. This morning we had a chance to discuss how best to counter Iran’s malign influence and activity in the region, and with all of our allies we’ve had discussions with respect to the JCPOA.
We will continue to work together to support bilateral ties between the United States and Jordan. We’re going to make progress on these key regional issues. And we will move forward to ensure a stable and safe Middle East with Jordan as our ally and partner.
Thank you for hosting me here in Jordan today. It’s been a pleasure.
FOREIGN MINISTER SAFADI: Thank you, Secretary.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you.
MODERATOR: We will take a few questions.
QUESTION: (Speaks in Arabic.)
FOREIGN MINISTER SAFADI: (Speaks in Arabic.)
SECRETARY POMPEO: So the foreign minister and I did have a long discussion about this. Our � we are together jointly in perfect accord with respect to how to proceed with the objectives in Syria. It is a Geneva-based process led by the UN to achieve a political resolution to continue to de-escalate the conflict so that we can begin to resolve all of the various political challenges that are faced there.
You asked in particular about our � the strikes that were undertaken by the United States and the French. It is the case that the use of chemical weapons is special and unique, and President Trump has made very, very clear that this is intolerable; it presents enormous risk to the world if we don’t re-establish a deterrence framework for the use of chemicals in combat.
QUESTION: Minister and Mr. Secretary, thank you for taking our questions. Secretary Pompeo, in the past four weeks since the Palestinians began protesting in Gaza, 45 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces. Do you have any concerns that excessive force was used? Do you agree with your colleague here that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the most serious threat to stability in the region? And do you think that the two-state solution is the only way that it can be resolved, as your colleague seems to?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So let me try and take the three questions there and try to take them in reverse � reverse chronological order. With respect to the two-state solution, the parties will ultimately make the decision about what the right resolution is. We’re certainly open to a two-party solution. That’s a likely outcome. We certainly believe that the Israelis and Palestinians need to have political engagement. We urge the Palestinians to return to that political dialogue.
Second, it is an important piece of achieving Middle East stability is to resolve this conflict. So precisely how to rank it amongst all the various challenges � I’ll defer on that. Know that it is an incredible priority for the United States to provide whatever assistance we can to allow the two parties to come to a resolution of this incredibly longstanding and important conflict.
Then your first question is about the activities in Gaza over the past days and weeks. We do believe the Israelis have the right to defend themselves, and we’re fully supportive of that.
QUESTION: (Speaks in Arabic.)
SECRETARY POMPEO: So two questions. The deal-of-the-century question. We understand that ultimately this deal will be agreed to between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but certainly it’s the case that as America continues to be involved in facilitating such an arrangement, we’re doing so in close alignment with Jordan and the Jordanian people so that we’re working together so that the solution that is ultimately achieved works for those two countries and for the greater region as well, including the important interest that Jordan has in that.
With respect to Syria, I think we’ve talked about this. We believe there are many countries, including the United States, that will play an important political role in achieving the de-escalation and the ultimate political resolution in Syria.
FOREIGN MINISTER SAFADI: (Speaks in Arabic.)
Source: U.S. Department of State
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SECRETARY POMPEO: Everybody ready to get home?
QUESTION: Very much so.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, me too. Well, look, you all had a chance to see what the prime minister said today. You’ve seen the statement that I’ve released with some of the President � what was said in our response to the question at the joint press conference he held. I’m happy to ask any � answer any questions to clarify anything about this new material that the prime minister released today.
QUESTION: How long have you known about that?
QUESTION: Did you go over it when you were with him in their meeting? I mean, how much of the meeting was that?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So we have � we’ve known about this material for a while. And yes, we certainly discussed the material yesterday when we were together.
QUESTION: Thank you.
SECRETARY POMPEO: But it’s been something that’s been in the works for a while. I know there are people talking about these documents not being authentic. I can confirm for you that these documents are real; they’re authentic.
QUESTION: Senator Corker says you’ve known about this for years.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, that’s partly true. The existence of the AMAD program that ended roughly December of 2003, January of 2004, it is accurate to say that the knowledge of that has been known for � the fact of that had been known for quite some time. But there are thousands of new documents and new information. We’re still going through it. There’s still a lot of work to do to figure out precisely the scope and scale of it. But it is the case � it � there is new information about that program.
QUESTION: Does it matter for the Iran nuclear deal, I mean, given that it looks like they abandoned the program some time ago?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, this is � this will, I think, spell out the scope and scale of the program that they undertook there, and I think makes � I think makes very clear that, at the very least, the Iranians have continued to lie to their own people. So while you say everyone knew, the Iranians have consistently taken the position that they’ve never had a program like this. This will � this will belie any notion that there wasn’t a program like this.
QUESTION: Is there anything in there that suggests there’s an actual violation of the 2016 agreement?
SECRETARY POMPEO: We’ll leave that to lawyers. I’ll leave that to lawyers to sort of make � and the President will ultimately have to make a determination about that too. You should remember there are still many, many documents that we’ve not had the opportunity to go through yet. It’s complex, a lot of translation work. There’s just a � it’s just a significant undertaking.
QUESTION: Does this suggest that the IAEA was wrong when it closed the book on the PMDs as part of the � part of the JCPOA?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I don’t know the answer to that.
QUESTION: Well, do these documents � are they contemporaneous with the negotiations that were going on or the (inaudible)?
SECRETARY POMPEO: We haven’t gone through all the documents yet. We’re still scratching the surface of what we’re going through.
QUESTION: Did the prime minister choose to release this now in order to influence the President’s decision or to support it?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I don’t know. I don’t know why they chose that timing.
QUESTION: It sounds like you have not drawn any conclusions on it yet.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, yes and no. I mean, it depends what you mean. Yes, we’ve drawn conclusions. We know more about the AMAD program than we knew before, and we have a whole lot more material to go through. We now know that they continued to store this material in an orderly fashion for some purpose � right? They kept the documents for a reason, and one can speculate as to why. If you said you were never � right? � the JCPOA says you’ll never, ever have a nuclear weapons program � right? Or maybe not with a not a never ever. You won’t ever have a nuclear weapons program. But you chose to store in secret and hide these documents?
QUESTION: Historical record? You’re not willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that they don’t want to destroy their history or —
SECRETARY POMPEO: The world can decide if this was for the Iranian museum that they � that they decided to hang onto it. (Laugher.)
QUESTION: How much have you guys (inaudible)?
QUESTION: Secretary, what happens now? Do you (inaudible) urgent meeting of the E3? What happens now?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So the Israelis will now, I think � I think the prime minister said publicly they are going to go provide expert briefings to the Germans and the French (inaudible). They’ll do the same thing for the Brits as well, and I think he indicated he was going to do it for the other members of the P5 also. And I think that’s important. I don’t think the Israelis � the Israelis haven’t asked us to take their word for it; they provided us the material to review. I am confident they will do the same for the other partners of the P5.
QUESTION: If you —
MODERATOR: Okay, guys. The Secretary has to go.
QUESTION: How much will it damage European relations? I mean, they obviously want to stay very much in the deal. If you pull out, are you afraid that relations with Europe will be damaged?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I’d say two things. One, we’re working diligently to fix this thing. I mean, on the plane we’ve been working to try and get language right that will address President Trump’s concerns. So we’re still working our way there.
And then a second thing I’d say is we’ve had lots of conversations with the Europeans. We know what it is they’re hoping to achieve. We share the same end goal to keep the Iranians from ever having a nuclear weapon. I am confident that we will continue to have good relations with our European partners should the President choose to pull out of this. This will be one issue among many of the important, critical issues that we all work on together.
MODERATOR: All right. Thanks, you guys.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you all.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
Source: U.S. Department of State
Secretary Pompeo To Deliver Remarks to State Department Employees
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will address State Department employees upon arrival at the State Department on Tuesday, May 1, at 1:15 p.m. in the C Street Lobby.
Secretary Pompeo’s remarks will be open to the press.
Preset for video cameras: 11:30 a.m. from the C Street Entrance.
Final access for writers and still photographers: 12:30 p.m. from the C Street Entrance.
Secretary Pompeo’s remarks will be streamed live on www.state.gov and https://www.facebook.com/usdos. Follow @StateDept for more information and for live tweets from the event.
Media representatives may attend this event upon presentation of one of the following: (1) A U.S. Government-issued identification card (Department of State, White House, Congress, Department of Defense or Foreign Press Center), (2) a media-issued photo identification card, or (3) a letter from their employer on letterhead verifying their employment as a journalist, accompanied by an official photo identification card (driver’s license, passport).
Source: U.S. Department of State
Jeddah Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen strongly condemned Friday’s appalling terrorist attack carried out by Boko Haram extremists in the Nigerian northeastern city of Maiduguri, killing and wo…