Last updated: 18 January, 2012

US lawmaker urges Jordan king to name Israel envoy

A key US lawmaker Wednesday urged Jordan’s King Abdullah II to name an ambassador to Israel after a hiatus of more than a year and a half to help improve regional ties.

“Jordan has not yet appointed an ambassador to Israel in the year and a half since the previous ambassador moved on, and I would strongly encourage you to do so,” said Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, at a meeting with the monarch at the US Capitol.

Ros-Lehtinen, who recently completed a tour that included Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, discussed the impasse over Israeli-Palestinian peace talks with the visiting Jordanian leader.

The US lawmaker also discussed the unrest in Syria and welcomed Abdullah’s view that President Bashar al-Assad should leave office.

“I share that view because Iran is certainly doing all it can to keep Syria afloat but the people are rising up,” she said.

Ros-Lehtinen said the kind “was encouraged with what United States is doing with all of the partners in the region” on the Syrian unrest.

Abdullah, who helped convene informal talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Jordan this month, met with President Barack Obama at the White House Tuesday. He addresses the US Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.