Obama Hitches a Royal Ride

By Natalie Gewargis

Jul 22, 2008 3:09pm

After attending a banquet at King Abdullah’s Beit Al Urdan palace Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, hitched a ride -lliterally – to the Amman airport with the King.

Abdullah drove himself – with Obama riding shotgun – from the palace to the airport in a silver Mercedes 600 series with blacked out windows.

The King – in the driver’s seat – raced onto the tarmac and came to an abrupt halt, stopping on a dinar, just a few feet away from one of Senator Obama’s pre-positioned secret service agents.

The King’s car was followed by a squadron of myriad Mercedes filled with the King’s security forces.

The Senator and the King got out of the car, spoke on the tarmac for a few minutes and then shook hands. Obama then boarded his plane, without the King, to fly to Tel Aviv.

Their joint ride to the airport follows their closed door meeting this evening and a dinner reception at the palace. 

His Royal Majesty issued a statement announcing that "His Majesty King Abdullah II stressed during talks this evening with US Senator Barack Obama (Democrat, Illinois) that ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and achieving a just settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict tops the priorities of the people of the Middle East. During the meeting, King Abdullah reasserted the need to establish an independent Palestinian state on all Palestinian land in the West Bank and Gaza, saying it is the key to a final settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict."

While the Kingdom is staying neutral, one senses they have been taken by the senator’s message of change. Presumably they believe that will extend to how much of a priority the next president will make the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

The King also said that he "told Obama that continued American support for a Middle East peace process that leads to a just and comprehensive peace would help foster Arab-US relations and bolster US credibility in the region" and that he "outlined Jordan’s position in support of the rights of the Palestinian people to liberation and independence through the establishment of an independent state that preserves the Palestinian identity. He also emphasized Jordan’s support for the Palestinians in negotiations with Israel on final status issues."

Abdullah said he "warned that the Israeli settlement policy and Israel’s imposition of new realities on the ground, along with the siege on the Palestinian people would exacerbate conflict and undermine peace efforts."

Obama is leaving Jordan in minutes and heading to Israel.

- Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller

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