Prime Minister Ehud Olmert landed in Amman on Wednesday afternoon for an unannounced visit with King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
During his two-hour stop in the capital Olmert briefed the king on various regional developments and the two went on to discuss joint economic projects between Israel and Jordan as well as the aid provided by the latter to the Palestinian Authority.
"The two leaders discussed the peace process and ways to make progress towards the objectives set at the Annapolis conference," Olmert's office said in a statement following the meeting.
The prime minister's office stressed that Wednesday's was one of the routine meetings held between the two. In January Olmert traveled to the coastal town of Aqaba to meet with the king. The secrecy shrouding Olmert's visit was later attributed to security concerns.
Israel views Jordanian involvement in the current negotiations with the Palestinians as vital. "Jordan carries a lot of weight with the PA, whether in the role of mediator or in other fields, all of which are very important to Israel. Both understand that this is the last year of the Bush administration and that everything must be done in that timeframe to reach a political agreement," said a State official.
"The meeting today was intended to keep the Jordanian king abreast of the talks with the Palestinians, in the hopes Jordan will use its capabilities to further them," he added.
The Jordanian news agency reported the king conveyed to Olmert the importance of achieving a breakthrough by the end of 2008. "The agreement should be based on the two-state solution, in
accordance with the commitments agreed upon by the two sides at the Annapolis conference," Jordanian media said.
Abdullah believes that the deal must touch on all the core issues pertaining to any eventual permanent arrangement, and that the outcome of the negotiations should be the establishment of an independent Palestinian nation. The Jordanians report the king has demanded a clearly-outlined timetable be set for the talks.