Prime Minister John Key welcomed King Abdullah II of Jordan to talks in the Beehive cabinet room today, telling him he was held in high regard by many leaders around the world.

The King who has ruled Jordan since 1999 is playing a key role in the Middle East in the war against Isis, also known as Daesh.

Key made reference to New Zealand troops training Iraqis in the fight against Isis and said he was keen to get his insights into the region as well as talking about trade.

Jordan has been a home to 2.5 million Syrian refugees since 2011, half of whom have stayed.


Speaking at a state dinner last night, the King said New Zealand had put itself "at the heart of the world and this country is a model for multicultural societies".

New Zealand's engagement in global affairs had helped change history across the world.

"This year marks the centennial of the Great Arab Revolt - the wellspring of Arab self-determination," he said.

"At this historic moment, our people found a strategic partnership in the soldiers who came from almost half around the world. "

That partnership had never been more important than it was today.

"Our secure, stable countries thrive as part of a global system held together by co-operation, moderation, and tolerance.

"Yet as I speak, our world faces a virulent, hostile attack, from extremists who seek to destroy the values that bind our common humanity," he said.

"Daesh, Al Shabab, Boko Haram, Abu Sayyaf: whatever their name, that threat is the same.

"These outlaws ... we call them the khawarej, outlaws of Islam ... seek to create a fractured world of global struggle, with Muslims and non-Muslims on opposite sides, mistrusting and fearing each other.

"This is the challenge of our lifetime, the challenge is serious as any in history. It is global, and it is for the long term.

"The fact is - for peace, for security, for prosperity - every region counts. We cannot ignore events in Africa or southeast Europe or elsewhere because they might seem distant.

"Only a collective, comprehensive effort will win."

The King had two days holiday in the South Island between a visit to Australia and his official duties in Wellington.

He brought Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Nasser Judeh with him.

King Abdullah yesterday also met Opposition leader Andrew Little, who visited refugee camps in Jordan earlier this year.