The president and the King of Jordan hold a joint news conference at the White House and take questions from the press.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. Your Majesty, thank you for being with us today. Very much appreciate it. This is our second meeting since my inauguration, but our first at the White House. A very special place, I can tell you that. I've gotten to know it well. Long hours. Very special.
It's really an honor to welcome you here today. But before we begin, let me say a few words about recent events.
Yesterday, a chemical attack -- a chemical attack that was so horrific, in Syria, against innocent people, including women, small children, and even beautiful little babies. Their deaths was an affront to humanity. These heinous actions by the Assad regime cannot be tolerate.
The United States stands with our allies across the globe to condemn this horrific attack and all other horrific attacks, for that matter.
Your Majesty, Jordanians are known for their legendary hospitality, and we will do our very best to be equally gracious hosts. They're also known, however -- I have to say this -- for their fighting ability. And you are a great warrior, and we appreciate it. Thank you.
The historical ties and close friendship between our two countries dates back three-quarters of a century. In that time, the Middle East has faced many periods of crisis and unrest, perhaps never like it is today, however. Through them all, America has looked to Jordan as a valued partner, an advocate for the values of civilization, and a source of stability and hope.
I am deeply committed to preserving our strong relationship -- which I will -- and to strengthening America’s longstanding support for Jordan. And you do have tremendous support within our country, I can tell you that.
As we know, the Middle East -- and the entire world -- is faced with one of its gravest threats in many, many years. Since the earliest days of the campaign against ISIS, Jordan has been a staunch ally and partner, and we thank you for that. Jordanian servicemembers have made tremendous sacrifices in this battle against the enemies of civilization, and I want to thank all of them for their, really, just incredible courage. So many have been lost, and we pay homage. So many.
In King Abdullah, America is blessed with a thoughtful and determined partner. He is a man who has spent years commanding his country’s special forces. He really knows what being a soldier is, that I can tell you. And he knows how to fight. The King has been a leader in calling for a plan to defeat ISIS once and for all. And I'm with you on that. We’re both leaders on that, believe me. That's what we speak about today, and that is what we are going to do. And it will be a shorter fight than a lot of people are thinking about, believe me. We've made tremendous strides as we discussed.
As you know, we had a very, very fine delegation come over from Egypt and also from Iraq, and they said more has been done in the last six weeks than has been done in years with the previous administration. And believe me, we're going to keep it that way.
We will destroy ISIS and we will protect civilization. We have no choice -- we will protect civilization. King Abdullah and I also discussed measures to combat the evil ideology that inspires ISIS and plagues our planet. In addition, we also acknowledge the vital role that Jordan has played in hosting refugees from the conflict in Syria. We have just announced that the United States will contribute additional funds to Jordan for humanitarian assistance. This aid will help countries like Jordan host refugees until it is safe for them to return home. The refugees want to return home. I know that from so many other instances. They want to return back to their home. And that's a goal of any responsible refugee policy.
Finally, we discussed to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East, including peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. And I'm working very, very hard on trying to finally create peace between the Palestinians and Israel, and I think we'll be successful. I hope to be successful, I can tell you that.
The King has been a really tireless advocate for a solution, and he's going to help me with that and help me at the highest level. And we will be consulting with him closely in the days ahead.
King Abdullah, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your partnership. Working together, the United States and Jordan can help bring peace and stability to the Middle East and, in fact, the entire world. And we will do that.
Thank you very, very much for being with us. (Applause.)
KING ABDULLAH: Thank you. Mr. President, thank you for such a kind and warm welcome to the White House. I fondly remember the meetings we’ve had many years ago and, more recently, several months ago. You've always been a generous host and have always looked after us. We are very delighted with the way the discussions have gone so far, and we're delighted to be here in such a wonderful setting on such a beautiful day, which I think is a tremendous mark of how we are going to move into the future.
We've had a very good round of talks today, and I'm looking forward to continuing these discussions later on in our meetings after the press conference. What I do want to say is how much we deeply appreciate the close relations we have with the United States, with you, Mr. President, and with the American people. This is a strategic partnership that we keep very close to our hearts, and it is a partnership on so many levels that we will continue, I think, with the frank discussions that we had today to improve on as we face the challenges of the future. And I am very delighted for your vision, your holistic approach to all the challenges in our region, and to the dedication of your team in being able to translate your policies into action successfully, hopefully, as we move forward.
The challenges we face today are many and are not exclusive to my region, as I've just mentioned. They are global, and particularly the threats to global security. Terrorism has no borders, no nationality, no religion, and, therefore, joint action with a holistic approach, as I had just mentioned, Mr. President, is crucial. I am very delighted that you have the vision to be able to move in that direction, and I think that the world will be in a very good place as we move with all these challenges ahead.
No doubt, with all the challenges that we face in the world, the role of the U.S. is key to all the issues that we have around the world, but it's not just the fact that we should expect the United States to do all the heavy lifting. The heavy lifting has to be done by all of us in the international community to support the United States in being able to translate that vision into the right direction. So there's a lot of responsibility for all of us in the international community to support the President, the administration, and the American people to bring brighter days to all of us.
We are very encouraged with the President's determination to support Arab and Muslim states in their fight against terrorism. But it is not only the fight of terrorism inside of our societies, but we, as Arab-Muslim states standing behind the international community in being able to defeat this international scourge.
In Syria, we need a political solution that ends the conflict in the country and preserve its unity and territorial integrity.
As the President mentioned, the issue we discussed was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is essentially the core conflict in our region. And the President’s early engagement as beginning in bringing the Palestinians and Israelis together has been a very encouraging sign for all of us. And I think, sir, it was that initiative that allowed us at the Arab Summit last week to extend through the Arab Peace Initiative the message of peace to Israel, which we all hopefully will work together to make that come about.
All Arab countries -- we launched the Arab Peace Initiative, as I said, last week. It offers a historic reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as all member states of the Arab League. It is the most comprehensive framework for lasting peace and it ensures statehood for the Palestinians, but also security, acceptance and normal ties for Israel with all Arab countries and hopefully all Islamic countries.
So we appreciate your commitment in all these issues where others have failed. You will find a strong ally in Jordan in supporting you in all your policies. And if I may just say, as you have, on Syria and the gas attack -- unfortunately, as you and I both agree, this is another testament to the failure of the international diplomacy to find the solutions to this crisis. But I believe under your leadership we will be able to unravel this very complicated situation.
This has been ongoing for seven years now, has descended into proxy wars from different parties with dubious agendas. But at the end of the day, as you pointed out, Mr. President, it is the civilians -- women and children -- that are paying the heaviest price. This is happening on our watch, on our conscience, as well as the global community. And I know the passion and the emotion that the President has expressed and how this should not be tolerated whatsoever. And this threshold of inhumanity and savagery that are being crossed every day is something that I know the President will not allow to happen, wherever it may be. And I fully support and endorse the President in this issue.
So I want to thank you, sir, because you have the outlook of looking not just at the Syrian challenges but that of Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Libya, and everything that is in our region. So I think your message to all of us is a message of hope, and that's what I take away from this conference.
Read the full transcript, with questions from the media.