Israeli defence minister discusses regional stability with Jordanian king

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Jordan's King Abdullah II meets with Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz, in Amman

AMMAN (Reuters) - Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz met Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman on Wednesday to discuss regional stability and bilateral ties in the latest high-level visit since relations between the two neighbours improved, officials from both countries said.

At peace since 1994, Jordan is a security ally for Israel but relations have suffered in recent years over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But ties have steadily improved since a cross-partisan coalition ousted long-serving conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, under whose tenure relations plummeted.

"Our meeting reflected the enduring ties and excellent cooperation between our countries. We are committed to working together for the security and prosperity of our nations," Gantz said in a tweet following the meeting in the royal palace.

Abdullah told Gantz that maintaining calm in Palestinian territories was crucial and stressed there was no alternative to a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians to bring a "comprehensive and just" end to the conflict, a royal palace statement said.

Jordanian officials say the shift in U.S. policy under President Joe Biden towards a more traditional commitment to a two-state solution has relieved pressure on Jordan, where a majority of the population of 10 million are Palestinians.

Israel has in recent months increased water supplies to Jordan and there has been revived talk about regional projects and a pickup in cross-border trade that had been stagnant for years, officials say.

(Writing by Dan Williams, Additional Reporting by Suleiman al Khalidi in Amman and Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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