Trump, Jordan's King Abdullah tout partnership in fighting terrorism

By Doug G. Ware   |   April 5, 2017 at 3:31 PM
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April 5 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump welcomed Jordan's King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein to the White House Wednesday, where the two leaders pledged support for one another and acknowledged various complexities in fighting terrorism.

During a joint news conference, Trump praised Abdullah for his support for the United States and said he is a key American ally in the Middle East. The king pledged to continue that support but also urged other countries to step up their aid in the fight against terror.

Trump backed off remarks he made blaming former President Barack Obama for a Syrian chemical attack Tuesday that killed more than 70 people. A day earlier, the president had faulted Obama's handling of the Syrian civil war by saying his administration should have been more aggressive in fighting President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

"I now have responsibility [for Syria] and I will have that responsibility and carry it very proudly," Trump said.

Trump's initial accusation ran contradictory to his previous statements on Syria. In 2013, he publicly advocated staying out of the Syian fight.

"Forget Syria and make America great again!" he said in one tweet.

Trump said Wednesday that his approach to Syria and Assad has "changed very much" and that Tuesday's attack, which took the lives of "beautiful little babies," had a large impact on him.

Trump said the United States is "blessed" to have a partner in Jordan and Abdullah's government, and pledged that the fight against the Islamic State will be shorter than most people expect.

In his remarks, Abdullah called on other nations in the Middle East and Africa, which are home to many terrorist hot spots, to step up in the fight -- saying the United States can't continue to do all of the heavy lifting to defeat the "scourge" of terrorism.

King Abdullah is the latest world leader to make a debut visit to the Trump White House in recent weeks. Leaders from Germany, Japan, Canada, Egypt and Britain have met with the American president since he took office Jan. 20.

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