Most memorable MidEast interviews of 2021

Jordan’s King Abdullah II, CNN International

Jordan’s King Abdullah II, CNN International
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Updated 30 December 2021

Jordan’s King Abdullah II, CNN International

Jordan’s King Abdullah II, CNN International

Network: CNN International

Release date: 25 July 2021

Main topics: Israel-Palestine, stability in Jordan

Following his visit to the White House and Capitol Hill in the US, Jordan’s King Abdullah II met with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria for a worldwide exclusive interview.

King Abdullah likened his meeting with US President Joe Biden to a “meeting with an old friend.” When asked if he expected a different policy on Lebanon out of Biden than Trump, he said that it was not an issue of “different policy,” but of “what other plans are out there.”

He said of Lebanon: “When the bottom does fall out, and it will happen in weeks, what can we do as an international community to step in, knowing that whatever plans we come up with, we will fall short of our aims and we will let people down? So I think it’s (about) can we build plans to sort of move the region into the right direction?”

King Abdullah II also discussed the Israel-Palestine conflict, saying that in his view, a two-state solution is “the only solution,” but that it may not be possible given the new Israeli government under Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. The king said that his focus was on getting the Israelis and Palestinians to engage with one another.

“I think we’ve seen in the past couple of weeks not only a better understanding between Israel and Jordan, but the voices coming out of both Israel and Palestine that we need to move forward and reset that relationship,” he added.

In April, Jordanian officials accused the king’s half-brother, Prince Hamzah, being part of an attempted coup to destabilize the kingdom. The prince criticized Jordan’s leadership, but a few days later pledged loyalty to the king.

“What I think made this so sad was that one of the people was my brother, who did it in such an amateurish and really disappointing way. From our point of view, the intelligence services, as they always do, gather information, and it got to a point where they had legitimate concerns that certain individuals were trying to push my brother’s ambitions for their own agendas and decided quite rightly to nip it in the bud and quietly,” the king told Zakaria.

He added that there are “enough challenges in the region” and said: “We (Jordanians) are all about mitigating challenges and difficulties as opposed to adding to them.”