King Hussein and President Bush have had their first official contact since relations were strained over the kingdom's support for Iraq in the Persian Gulf crisis, it was reported Thursday.
The official news agency Petra said Bush telephoned Hussein on Wednesday night and discussed the Middle East peace process.It said Bush stressed "his keenness and determination to exert utmost efforts to help the parties concerned in the Arab-Israeli conflict reach a just settlement"
Petra quoted Hussein as expressing "Jordan's commitment to the peace process and to a settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian problem on the basis of international legality."
The contact was made as Secretary of State James Baker was winding up a Middle East swing. Baker, however, failed to get a firm commitment from Hussein to participate in the talks.
Hussein said Tuesday that he would "look favorably" on the idea of sharing a delegation with Palestinians. But he made it plain it was up to the Palestinians to decide how they would be represented.
Washington's relations with Jordan, traditionally a strong ally of the West, were strained after Hussein's criticism of the foreign military intervention in the gulf in the wake of Iraq's Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait.