Saudi king arrives in Jordan

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah arrived Wednesday in Jordan to discuss the ways to restart Palestinian-Israeli peacemaking and stop violence wracking Iraq and Lebanon.

Jordan's King Abdullah II and top government officials greeted the Saudi ruler on arrival at Amman airport ahead of talks due to open later Wednesday.

Chief Jordanian government spokesman Nasser Judeh said discussions with the Saudi king will focus on Mideast peacemaking, Iraq and Lebanon. "The talks are very important due to regional circumstances and their repercussions," he said.

Abdullah's visit was hailed in the Jordanian media as "historic" because it was the first by a Saudi ruler in more than 25 years.

The king was to be driven to the talks with his Jordanian counterpart at an Amman hilltop royal palace in a motorcade of cars and horses.

Jordan's Beduin clans of nomads had pitched their camel hair tents on major street intersections of the Jordanian capital and the tribesmen were expected to slaughter animals in a traditional Arab greeting of dear guests.

Abdullah is on the second leg of a regional tour that has also taken him to Egypt.

Before his departure Thursday, the Saudi king is due to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. A Palestinian official said Abbas would brief the Saudi monarch on "details of the coup carried out by Hamas in Gaza" - a reference to the militant group's takeover of the coastal strip two weeks ago. The official insisted on anonymity because he was divulging Abbas's schedule in violation of security instructions.

Jordan has traditionally maintained close relations with its Saudi neighbor over the years. But Riyadh ostracized Amman for its perceived tilt toward Saddam Hussein following his Aug. 2, 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Saudi Arabia reacted by cutting off crucial oil supplies to cash-strapped Jordan, which then said it had only sought to take a neutral position in the crisis with Saddam.

Saudi Arabia, a regional powerhouse, is one of Jordan's main bankrollers, contributing millions of dollars in cash and oil donations annually to keep Amman's economy afloat.