Jordan's king visits Iraq

Aug. 11, 2008 at 3:57 PM
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BAGHDAD, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- Jordanian King Abdullah II made a secret trip to Iraq Monday, making him the first Arab head of state to visit the nation since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Abdullah met with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to talk about ways to improve relations between the two countries, al-Alam satellite TV reported.

"The discussions between the two parties were frank and positive," an official statement released following Abdullah's departure from Iraq after the four-hour meeting said. "They discussed the progress made by Iraq and especially that of the Iraqi government's success in security and the future reconstruction projects."

The tet-a-tet was expected to be viewed as a significant move toward reintegrating Iraq back into the fold of Arab states, al-Alam reported.

The Jordanian king had been expected to make the trip last month but the visit reportedly was delayed for security reasons.

The BBC reported Maliki said the visit "will open a new page in relations between the two countries, which will help to maintain the stability and security in Iraq and all the region."

The British network also reported the king said Jordan "is ready to stand at the side of Iraq to realize the wish of the Iraqi people for security stability and prosperity."

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