[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 February 2007, 14:09 GMT
Jordan talks conclude Putin tour
Russian President Vladimir Putin and King Abdullah II of Jordan
The two leaders discussed the Israel-Palestinian situation
Russian President Vladimir Putin and King Abdullah II of Jordan have held talks in Amman on ways of reviving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

They also discussed the recent agreement between Palestinian factions to form a national unity government.

The tensions over Iran's nuclear programme and the violence in Iraq were also on the agenda for discussions.

Mr Putin, on the last leg of a Mid-East tour, was also to meet Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Amman.

President Putin was greeted by King Abdullah at Amman's hilltop Basman Palace and inspected a guard of honour.

Mr Putin said Russia wanted to play its part in the peace process.

"We are constantly in contact, exchanging views on the developments in the region and, obviously, on the most acute problem of the Palestinian-Israeli settlement," he said.

Mr Putin arrived in Jordan after visiting Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Analysts say his visit comes amid signs that Russia is seeking to reinvigorate its contacts in the Middle East.

Historic visit

Jordan's chief government spokesman, Nasser Judeh, said Mr Putin's visit was "very important and welcomed".

"Russia is an important member of the Quartet and a country that has every interest in seeing a revival of the peace process and a permanent peace settlement in the Middle East," he said.

Vladimir Putin with Qatar's Emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani
Mr Putin arrived in Jordan after a brief visit to Qatar
The Quartet of Middle East mediators comprises the EU, the UN, the US and Russia.

Jordan has been working to restart the stalled peace process and on Monday the Jordanian king met Mr Abbas for talks.

As well as the Israeli-Palestinian issue, Mr Putin was also expected to discuss energy and economic ties with Jordanian officials.

In Qatar, he held talks with Emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and in Saudi Arabia, the first visit to the country by a Russian head of state, Mr Putin met Saudi King Abdullah.

The BBC's Russian affairs analyst Steven Eke says that Mr Putin's tour of these pro-western Middle Eastern nations comes at a time when Moscow's disillusionment with the West is growing.

Last weekend, at a prestigious European security conference, the Russian president launched a broadside against American foreign policy, accusing Washington of unilateralism.

This, our correspondent says, has led some Russian commentators to suggest Mr Putin is challenging - or at least, intends to challenge - America's influence in the Middle East.

Vladimir Putin on his tour of the Middle East

Putin in first Saudi state visit
11 Feb 07 |  Middle East

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific