The two leaders initially convened in private, and later dined with senior Jordanian officials.
“I promised his royal highness that we would permit the transfer of all Jordanian aid to the Palestinians through Israel,” Olmert said following the meeting.
King Abdullah (L) and Olmert during meeting (Photo: Reuters)
“The relations between Israel and Jordan are vital and have a strategic importance. I am very encouraged by the cooperation between the two countries along our mutual border aimed at fighting terror and factors that threaten our region,” the prime minister added.
King Abdullah told reporters, “the most important thing is that we discussed the peace process and ways to advance the Israeli-Palestinian issue. We also discussed ways to improve relations between Jordan and Israel; we stressed our position according to which a bilateral solution should be the goal, by way of negotiations and in accordance with the Road Map.
“Jordan expressed its commitment to assist the Palestinians and Israelis in achieving the peace we all desire. Such an agreement would help stabilize the region. I was pleased to hear of Olmert’s intent to meet with (Palestinian President Mahmoud) Abbas,” he said.
During the Olmert-Abdullah meeting Jordan’s labor unions held a rally outside the royal palace in protest of the peace process and the normalization between the countries.
'A strong message'
Before the summit, the Jordanians demanded that no press conference be held after the meeting, while Israeli counterparts insisted of some cooperation with the media. Both sides eventually agreed that the leaders will make public statements separately after the meeting.
The Jordanian press has reported extensively of the king's objection to unilateral Israeli moves in the West Bank. The Jordanian leader is also worried that any such step by Israel, in addition to the construction of the security fence and possible territory annexations, may trigger unrest among Jordan's large Palestinian majority.
Danny Nevo of the Israeli embassy in Jordan said following the meeting that Abdullah’s statement regarding the need for negotiations stems from Jordan’s fear of Palestinian refugees flowing into the country.
Nevo said the Jordanians were pleased upon hearing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s death, as he was the main suspect in last year’s terror attacks on Jordanian hotels.
“His death is also a message sent out by the Jordanians saying they can reach terrorists who carry out attacks on Jordanian soil, even if they are hiding out in Iraq,” he said. “From what I have heard, al-Zarqawi was reached with the help of the Jordanians – this is a strong message – to the Jordanian people as well.”