Live: President Obama and Jordan's King Abdullah Host Joint Press Conference
Syrian refugees cross the border from Syria into Jordan, near Mafraq. Jordan says it is hosting around 350 Syrian refugees, including more than 90,000 at Zaatari desert refugee camp, near the border with Syria. The country provides free health and education services for more than 200,000 U.N.-registered Syrian refugees, according to officials. Photo by Khalil Mazraawi/AFP/Getty Images.
At the end of his Middle East tour, President Barack Obama traveled to Amman, Jordan Friday to meet with King Abdullah II. Watch their press conference live at 11:45 a.m. ET.
Key items of discussion are likely to be Syria and the growing refugee problem in neighboring Jordan. The Associated Press reported that the nation hosts 500,000 refugees from Syria or about 9 percent of Jordan's total current population.
In 2012, when Abdullah visited the United States, he told PBS senior correspondent Margaret Warner that he expected the "loss of life" to continue in Syria and that the key players "don't really know what to do" about the conflict in the Middle Eastern country. A year ago, he told Warner, "I'm just very wary that once you start military operations in any country, it's very difficult to predict what the outcome is. We're hoping that dialogue and continuing pressure on Syria will have an effect."
With a total of 70,000 Syrians dead, Abdullah echoed similar sentiments in 2013. His primary concerns prior to President Obama's visit include increasing humanitarian aid in Syria and for countries like Jordan playing host to Syrian refugees and preventing the radicalization of Syrian politics. "The huge risk that Syria could become a regional base for extremist and terrorist groups, which we are already seeing establishing firm footholds in some areas," the king told the Associated Press.
In February, the Obama administration disbursed another $60 million in humanitarian aid to the Syrian rebels to provide basic needs for war-torn communities, including sanitation, medical care and food delivery, as well as to build up the organizational capacity of the Syrian Opposition Coalition. When announcing the aid package Feb. 28, Secretary of State John Kerry said, "Aiding the people who are fighting for a free Syria is a cause to which President Obama and all of us are deeply committed. And what unites us today is our shared conviction that the best solution for Syria is a political solution."
And while Jordan has remained a relatively stable country and ally of the U.S., Council on Foreign Relations' Steven Cook wrote Thursday that there are many more reasons why King Abdullah is now is facing mounting pressures and tensions in the region and from within his Kingdom:
"In January the Jordanians held elections, there have been a spate of protests over food prices, strong criticism of the King from some of the monarchy's heretofore strong tribal supporters. ... The fact that Syria is in chaos, sectarian gangs rule Iraq, Egypt is in turmoil, and predictions of a 3rd Palestinian intifada abound places King Abdullah and his Kingdom in a more uncomfortable position than usual."
View more on President Obama's trip to the Middle East on the NewsHour's World page.