President Joe Biden will travel to Jordan on Wednesday to meet with Arab leaders following his trip to Israel as concerns increase that the raging Israel-Hamas war could expand into a larger regional conflict.
White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Monday evening that Biden would go to Jordan where he would meet with King Abdullah, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
“We’ve been crystal clear about the need for humanitarian aid to be able to continue to flow into Gaza. That has been a consistent call by President Biden and certainly by this entire administration,” Kirby said.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Biden’s travel to Israel as the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip grows more dire and as Israel prepares for a possible ground attack on the 141-square-mile (365-square-kilometer) territory to root out Hamas militants responsible for what U.S. and Israeli officials say was the most lethal assault against Jews since the Holocaust.
Biden is looking to send the strongest message yet that the U.S. is behind Israel. His Democratic administration has pledged military support, sending U.S. carriers and aid to the region. Officials have said they would ask Congress for upward of $2 billion in additional aid for both Israel and Ukraine, which is fighting Russia’s invasion. Blinken made the announcement early Tuesday after more than seven hours of talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials.
Biden consulted with a trio of world leaders and his own national security team on Monday amid growing global concern about the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Gaza Strip and fears that the Israel-Hamas war could metastasize into a broader regional conflict.
Biden spoke by phone with Egyptian President el-Sissi, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz about the fallout from Hamas militants’ surprise attacks on Israel that left 1,400 dead and retaliatory strikes that have killed at least 2,778 Palestinians.
Earlier Monday, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were briefed in the Oval Office by their national security team on the situation on the ground in Israel and Gaza. White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients joined the briefing led by National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines and Central Intelligence Agency Director Bill Burns, according to the White House.
Biden had been scheduled to travel to Pueblo, Colorado, on Monday but decided to postpone the visit so he could consult with his aides and speak with fellow leaders about the unfolding situation in the Middle East. He had been scheduled to take a tour of CS Wind, the world’s largest facility for wind tower manufacturing.
Republished with permission of The Associated Press.