Transcript

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III Remarks Welcoming King Abdullah II of Jordan to the Pentagon

May 12, 2022
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III; King Abdullah II of Jordan

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE LLOYD J. AUSTIN III: Well, Your Majesty, it's great to see you again. And I'm really happy to be able to host you here at the Pentagon. Jordan is a valued leader in a difficult neighborhood and a powerful partner for stability and security in the region.

Of course, Russia's unprovoked and unjust invasion of Ukraine is on everybody's mind and my recent meetings in Kyiv left me more determined than ever to help Ukraine better defend itself. And I look forward to hearing your views, Your Majesty, on the crisis as well.

As you know, it's been a core part of my mission as secretary of defense to deepen and widen our partnerships. And our partnership with Jordan is more important than ever. That's because of our longstanding friendship, as well as the threats that we face today, including Iran's support for terrorism, the rise of drug smuggling in the Levant and the continued threat of violent extremist organizations such as ISIS.

I'm especially grateful for your personal commitment, Your Majesty, in defeating ISIS and deepening Arab-Israeli ties, supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and strengthening security for the Palestinian people, and reducing instability in Lebanon and Iraq.

And so, Your Majesty, I wanted to mention our concerns over the recent escalation of violence in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. We're grateful for the critical role that you personally have played in de-escalating tensions. And I look forward to our ongoing work together to find a viable path to stability, security and a just peace for both Israelis and Palestinians.

Elsewhere in the region, we're seeing increased threats from Iranian-supported missile attacks and unmanned aerial systems. We'll keep working together to strengthen the region's multilateral security frameworks and to counter destabilizing activities by Iran and its proxies in Iraq, Syria and beyond.

Your Majesty, I really look forward to our discussion and to finding ways to deepening this great partnership. Again, thanks for being here. We're absolutely thrilled to be able to host you.

KING ABDULLAH: Thank you, my dear friend. I'm delighted to be back here, to see old friends and good friends. Our relationship, not only between our two nations, has been an enduring one for many, many decades, but specifically between our armed forces. We have stood shoulder to shoulder in many parts of the world. And this is a source of pride and honor for us Jordanians.

And as we look to the challenges of the region and the future, we know that we'll be standing next to each other more and more. And that gives me tremendous hope.

As you said, sir, there are a series of issues that we have to deal with and we're here in Washington to see how we can coordinate and collaborate with our American friends. And I'd be very interested in getting to these details with you soon, knowing that I think a group of us Arab leaders are looking at how, coming out of two years of COVID, with the challenges now, as you said, Ukraine and Russia complicating things in our region, that we really need to do the heavy lifting on behalf of the United States to bring parties together to overcome the many challenges, including, as you alluded to, the increase of terrorism that has had two years to incubate and increase because of the COVID challenges.

So, sir, we're here to do good work. And I'm delighted, as always, for the warmth and hospitality I always receive from the Pentagon and from my friends and colleagues here. Thank you very much.

SEC. AUSTIN: You're welcome, Your Majesty.

Thanks, everybody.