Even though both were in Washington, D.C., this week, President Barack Obama and King Abdullah II of Jordan will meet tonight at the Sunnylands estate in Rancho Mirage, where they're slated to discuss Syria's civil war and efforts to forge peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Obama is due at Palm Springs International Airport around 6:30 p.m. from Fresno, where he is visiting a farm, participating in a discussion with farmers and others affected by the statewide drought, and speaking about how his administration will help, according to the White House. He is scheduled to meet with Abdullah at 7:50 p.m. and then have a working dinner.
The president started the day with a speech at the House Democratic Issues Conference in Cambridge, Md., and arrived in Fresno this afternoon.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to California that Sunnylands "provides a real intimate opportunity to discuss a lot of the issues they face both in that region and around the globe."
"The president really enjoys the opportunity to sort of have an informal, intimate discussion with a leader that he's so close with, King Abdullah, and out of the swirl of Washington," he said.
Regarding what Obama will do over the weekend, Schultz only said there was no public schedule and that the president "has enjoyed the golf course on Sunnylands before and I would not be surprised if he does that again this trip."
Obama is expected to stay at Sunnylands Saturday and Sunday before returning to Washington, D.C., on Monday.
The estate's recently refurbished nine-hole golf course has been played by presidents from Dwight D. Eisenhower to the elder George Bush.
Gov. Jerry Brown stopped by Sunnylands today and met with Abdullah to discuss "drought, the efficient use of water and renewable energy," according to the governor's office. Abdullah arrived in the Coachella Valley Thursday.
Abdullah spent the week in Washington, meeting with Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, members of Congress and leaders of Arab and Islamic groups. Biden and Abdullah discussed "how best to address the growing threat of violent extremism fueled by the Syrian conflict," according to the White House, while the king and Kerry discussed Syria and the Israeli- Palestinian peace process.
Syria and Middle East peace are also on the agenda for Obama's meeting with Abdullah tonight, along with "opportunities to strengthen the U.S.-Jordan strategic partnership and how to advance our political, economic and security cooperation," according to the White House. Jordan is one of America's closest friends in the Arab world.
Schultz said the Obama administration is "committed to working with Jordan to support the more than 600,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan and Jordan host communities."
"We're working together with the UN to press for greater humanitarian access inside Syria, and the United States and Jordan both strongly support the Geneva II process and efforts to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict," he said.
Rancho Mirage Mayor Richard Kite said the city "is honored that once again, the president of the United States has selected Rancho Mirage and the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands as the location for his meetings with a major foreign leader. On behalf of the community, we welcome the president, the international press, and other global leaders."
Kite greeted Abdullah Thursday and will welcome Obama today at the airport with other leaders.
– City News Service.