John Kerry
Secretary of State
Paris, France
February 19, 2014

SECRETARY KERRY: It’s great to be able to visit with Foreign Minister Judeh, who has been a tremendous partner in so many efforts with respect to Syria, with respect to the Middle East as a whole, and particularly we are listening very carefully to our friends in Jordan regarding the Middle East peace process. His Majesty King Abdullah just had a very good meeting with President Obama in California. We are discussing a number of ongoing security issues regarding the relationship, and we’re particularly grateful to the role that Jordan has played with respect to the Syrian refugees. It’s an extraordinary burden.

We’re proud that we’re the number one donor to this crisis, but both of us want to stop having increased clients. We want an end to the refugee crisis, an end to the problem of Syria, and we’re working hard to find ways forward on that. Thanks for visiting.

FOREIGN MINISTER JUDEH: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary, and as my good friend the Secretary of State said, I am here in the wake of an extremely successful visit by His Majesty the King to the United States. His Majesty just returned to Jordan yesterday – an extremely successful meeting with President Obama in Sunnylands, California, and His Majesty had the chance to receive the Secretary of State in Washington, D.C. before that. Excellent discussions. We are not just friends. We keep reminding the world we’re not just friends, we are true partners.

And it is in this spirit that we meet here today, first of all to build on the very productive discussions that His Majesty had with American Administration officials and Congress and different friends, but also to keep in touch and to coordinate closely. This is the nature of our relationship. The political consultation is constant and intensive and ongoing, particularly at this juncture. His Majesty the King is always very careful to point to the diligent efforts that Secretary Kerry, on behalf of President Obama and the Administration, is conducting when it comes to Middle East peacemaking. He has visited the region a number of times only in this last year and engaged with the leaders.

And when it comes to Middle East peace, and peace between Palestinians and Israelis in particular, we are always also careful to point to the Jordanian national interest, and Jordan is a stakeholder, not just a mediator or observer. All final status issues touch the very heart of Jordanian interests and (inaudible). And therefore, we are as interested as anyone out there in having this result in a fruitful outcome, and we salute the efforts of the Secretary of State on this front.

We are also extremely grateful for his constant care to keep us updated at every juncture and with each development in that regard, and we also want to build on the discussions that took place between His Majesty and the President and the Secretary of State when it comes to the challenge of Syria. And as the Secretary pointed out, we are at the receiving end of a huge humanitarian spillover, with 600,000 refugees plus 700,000 economic migrants before that – 1.3 million Syrian nationals on our soil – and the huge challenge that that represents to our infrastructure and to many of our key sectors.

So I look forward to, as always, an excellent discussion with the Secretary of State and to coordinate closely and to keep each other informed. So I thank you for this opportunity.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thanks, Nasser.