RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Jordan’s King Abdullah II arrived Wednesday, Feb. 25, to Saudi Arabia for a meeting with newly enthroned King Salman, with their talks focusing on the fight against terrorism as the two countries take part in U.S.-led airstrikes targeting the Islamic State group.
The Saudi Press Agency reported that Salman greeted the Jordanian monarch at the airport. The agency said the two kings are set to discuss a number of regional and international issues.
A Saudi official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information, said the meeting would focus on efforts to fight the Islamic State group, the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and turmoil in Yemen.
Earlier this month, Islamic State extremists burned a captive Jordanian pilot to death, a killing that Salman condemned as an “odious crime” and which Jordan vowed to avenge.
On the sidelines of King Abdullah’s visit, the head of the world’s largest Islamic body met with Jordan’s Islamic Affairs minister in Saudi Arabia to discuss Muslim support for Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque. Iyad Madani, the secretary-general of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation, paid a rare visit in January to the hilltop compound housing the Al-Aqsa mosque, where tensions have flared surrounding the holy site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.
Since Israel captured east Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967, Jewish worshippers have been allowed to visit — but not pray — at the site. The area is run by Muslim authorities under Jordanian custody. Jordan’s Hashemite dynasty was at one point also custodians of Islamic holy sites in Mecca and Medina, which are now under Saudi control.
Earlier this week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with Salman in Riyadh. During that visit, Salman stressed Saudi support for a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.