Israel’s interim leader meets Jordan’s king in Amman

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Israel’s caretaker prime minister and Jordan’s king met on Tuesday in the Jordanian capital Amman, both leaders’ offices said.

A statement from the office of Israeli interim premier Yair Lapid said he and King Abdullah II discussed recent regional changes, an apparent reference to ties that have improved between Israel and several Arab nations in recent years.

They also talked about how to deepen cooperation between the two countries, including in renewable energy projects, tourism, food security and agriculture, according to Lapid’s office.

Abdullah “stressed the need to find a political horizon to achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting peace” with the Palestinians, according to a statement from the Jordanian Royal Court. He also asked that Israel work to maintain calm in Jerusalem and its holy sites, a frequent flashpoint for violence with the Palestinians.

Israel and Jordan made peace in 1994 and maintain close security ties, but relations soured in recent years amid persistent tensions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, which is a key holy site to both Muslims and Jews, as well as Israel’s expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and the lack of any progress in the long-moribund peace process. The countries also fell out over a shooting incident by a guard at Israel’s embassy in Amman.

Lapid, a centrist former broadcaster, has been serving as interim prime minister since the coalition government he helped unite collapsed last month. This fall, he hopes to defeat former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a nationalist under whom relations with Jordan became strained. It will be Israel’s fifth vote in under four years.

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