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Jordan's King Abdullah Backs Mideast Peace Talks After Meeting Rice

Jordan's King Abdullah has voiced his support for a U.S.-sponsored Mideast peace conference after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in London.

In an official statement released after Thursday's talks, the king is quoted as saying he was encouraged by the progress made during Rice's four-day visit to the Middle East.

Rice said earlier that she was also encouraged by talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, despite tensions between the two sides.

Rice made the comments Thursday as she flew from Israel to London. The secretary said she is not surprised there are tensions ahead of the conference, due to what she called the serious issues involved.

A senior U.S. official also announced that National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley will visit the Middle East next week to follow up on Rice's meetings.

The peace conference is scheduled to be held in Annapolis, Maryland in November.

Rice also is expected to return to the region at the end of the month for a meeting of Iraq's neighbors in Istanbul.

During her visit this week, Rice met separately with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Rice has been trying to get the two sides to narrow differences on a joint document to be presented at the peace conference.

Mr. Abbas warned Rice that time is running out for writing the joint document. The Palestinians want a detailed document, while Israel is seeking a much more general statement.

Rice also discussed the proposed conference with Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.