Vice President Kamala Harris met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II on behalf of President Biden on Thursday to brief him on US efforts to support a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Biden has not spoken with the leader of the Arab nation since Hamas began firing rockets last week from Gaza into Israel following the clashes in Jerusalem.
“I spoke with King Abdullah II of Jordan to reaffirm our support and express our commitment to continue close cooperation,” Harris wrote on Twitter.
“I told him of our intensive diplomatic efforts to support the path to a ceasefire in Gaza. The United States and Jordan will continue to work to defuse tensions. “
According to a White House reading, Harris and Abdullah “discussed the ongoing conflict in Gaza and the violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank.”
It is unclear why Harris made the call rather than Biden, who has spoken to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at least four times, including Wednesday to pressure Israel to immediately begin a “significant de-escalation.” .
Biden also made his first appeal to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Thursday since the violence erupted – as Hamas and Israel reached their ceasefire agreement under Egyptian mediation.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was put on the defensive during her daily press briefing Thursday when NBC News reporter Kristen Welker asked if Biden’s delay in calling Sissi may have been prolonged. the dispute.
Although Jordan is not a border with Hamas-controlled Gaza, it is home to millions of Palestinian refugees and once controlled the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which Israel has occupied since 1967.
Hamas launched missiles into Israel after clashes in Jerusalem over an Israeli court ruling ordering the eviction of Palestinian tenants who stopped paying their rent in East Jerusalem. Israel responded with airstrikes on Gaza.