March 22, 2013 - 16:29 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Due to strong winds and sand storms on Friday, March 22, U.S. President Barack changed his plans to fly to Bethlehem in a helicopter, opting instead to travel in a convoy of cars, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Additionally, Obama's official farewell ceremony from Israel's Ben Gurion airport has been cancelled due to a sand storm that has enveloped central Israel. Instead, there will be a small ceremony which will take place on the tarmac.
The U.S. president will then travel to Amman, where he will meet with Jordanian King Abdullah II. Obama's talks with Abdullah are expected to focus on the civil war in neighboring Syria and the prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace diplomacy.
The president's visit to the desert kingdom is aimed at reassuring Abdullah of Washington's support at a time when it is flooded with refugees from the violence in Syria, and battling economic difficulties and tensions from the "Arab Spring" upheaval in the region, aides say.
Obama and Abdullah will consult extensively on the spillover of the Syrian conflict to Jordan, where an influx of more than 350,000 refugees has further strained the resources of a country that has almost no oil. Washington has provided some aid to alleviate the humanitarian situation.
Obama backs the Syrian opposition's effort to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad, but has limited its support to non-lethal aid to anti-government rebels despite growing calls from European and Arab allies to take a stronger tack.
The king has taken a mostly cautious line on Syria, calling for Assad to go, but advocating a "political solution" and not arming the Syrian leader's foes. Jordanian authorities worry that any emergence of Islamist rule in a post-Assad Syria could embolden Islamists who are the main opposition group in Jordan.
Also on the agenda will be the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.