President Bush is turning to Jordan's King Abdullah to help move the Middle East peace process forward following the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. During talks at the White House, the King agreed to launch a new round of diplomacy at Mr. Bush's request.
President Bush has said the withdrawal from Gaza presents an opportunity for progress, and he has asked King Abdullah to help turn that possibility into reality.
"One of the things I asked His Majesty to do is go to visit with Prime Minister Sharon and President Abbas to help in the peace process there and he has graciously agreed to go," said George W. Bush.
During a brief session with reporters, Mr. Bush praised King Abdullah for taking a leadership role, saying Jordan's monarch has a vision to share a more peaceful world.
"It will be very helpful to have your voice of reason there to talk to both leaders," he said.
Neither man provided a timetable for talks in the region or a specific agenda for discussions. King Abdullah told President Bush that he appreciates U.S. efforts to bring an end to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian dispute, and vowed to do all he can to help.
"I know that you want to find a solution that the Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace and harmony and hope if we can help in that respect that it is a great honor for us," said King Abdullah.
King Abdullah recently met with Prime Minister Sharon on the sidelines of a U.N. summit in New York. It was their first meeting in months, and a sign tensions between Israel and its Arab neighbors have eased a bit since the Gaza withdrawal.