Netanyahu Meets with Jordan's King Abdullah

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described his unannounced meeting with King Abdullah II in Amman on Tuesday as "very good."

National Security Council head Uzi Arad and Brig.-Gen. Yohanan Locker accompanied Netanyahu, while Abdullah invited several senior government officials to join them, including Prime Minister Samir Rifai, Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, and Intelligence chief Lt.-Gen. Mohammad Raqqad.

Tuesday's meeting took place two days before Arab League foreign ministers are scheduled to meet in Cairo where they'll decide whether to support or oppose direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas has yet to agree to direct talks with the Netanyahu government.

Following Tuesday's meeting, the Jordanians issued a statement urging both parties "to seize the current opportunity and achieve peace, which is a strategic interest for all parties and an international demand."

The Prime Minister's Office called the discussions "constructive" and said they "focused on the need to advance peace, security and prosperity in the region."

"The meeting, which lasted over two hours, was comprehensive and concentrated on the need to advance peace, security and prosperity in the region," the PMO's statement read.

Netanyahu said he very much appreciated "Jordan's desire to move forward with these goals and its contribution to stability in the entire region." 

In addition to discussing the peace process, the leaders talked about Iran's nuclear aspirations, as well as strengthening economic ties between Israel and Jordan, including train service that would connect Ashdod, Eilat and Aqaba.

The meeting appears to have smoothed tensions that had been building in the year and a half since the Netanyahu government was installed.

Unlike the prime minister's first visit to Jordan in May 2009, shortly after taking office, Abdullah received the Israeli delegation in the palace and invited the press to cover the meeting.

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