Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa held talks on Iraq and the Palestinian question with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz in Riyadh on Friday, the official Saudi news agency SPA reported.

  

The two men "discussed the current Arab situation as a whole, in particular the situation in Iraq and the Palestinian cause" and examined "means for developing the mechanisms for joint Arab action" on the issues, the agency said.

 

On Tuesday, the Arab League chief held talks with Jordan's King Abdullah II, stressing the need to rapidly form a Palestinian government to activate an internationally drafted peace "roadmap" and start negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, according to Jordanian television.

  

Earlier this week, Mussa was also in Syria for talks.

 

Arab League chief Amr Mussa
gives a press conference in Syria
earlier this week.

For his part, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said Thursday Washington was ready to take a more active role in pushing for Middle East peace.

  

The announcement came after Palestinian prime minister-designate Mahmud Abbas overcame a deadlock in talks with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat over the formation of a new cabinet, paving the way for the United States to fulfill promises to publish the roadmap for Middle East peace.

 

On Friday, US officials said Powell plans to travel to the Middle East next week, leaving Thursday for Egypt, Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria.