Bush tackles mid-east issues

Foreign Minister Abdel Ilah al-Khatib said the paior met over a working dinner at the Raghadan palace in Amman to discuss the regional conflicts and the situation in Iraq.

“The king explained the Jordanian position very clearly, namely the need to make real progress on the Palestinian issue because regional complications and challenges are due to the Palestinian problem,” he said.

“The main issue and the key issue in the region, as far as the people and their governments are concerned, is that there be real progress that will restore hope for the Palestinian people to achieve their ambitions,” he added.

Mr Bush and the Jordanian monarch also discussed the upsurge of sectarian violence in Iraq, Mr Khatib said.

“The Iraqi matter was also a central issue during the discussions and the talks focused on the importance of working to rebuild stability in Iraq,” he said.

“This stability is necessary for the stability of the entire region. The sectarian violence that hits Iraq like cyclones is causing damage to the region,” he added.

The king also underscored the importance of backing the elected government of embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki “and the need to empower the Iraqi people and help them preserve their unity,” he added.

Iraq talks loom

Mr Bush has arrived in Jordan for crucial talks with the Iraqi leader to tackle ways of quelling Iraq’s sectarian violence. They will meet over breakfast and later hold a joint news conference.

Expected three-way talks between the three men were earlier cancelled by Jordan because of a lack of time.

But the White House said the cancellation had nothing to do with a leaked Bush administration memo which cast doubt on Mr Maliki’s authority.

Earlier the Jordanian king met separately with Mr Maliki and told him that national reconciliation between rival Sunni and Shiite factions was necessary to secure Iraqi stability.