Jordan's King Abd Allah II opened the talks on Thursday in the southern Red Sea resort of Aqaba soon after Qatari Amir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani arrived in the kingdom for a two-day visit.

  

Ahead of an Arab summit slated to take place in Tunis on 29-30 March, the leaders exchanged views on Iraq, the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories and reforms for the 22-member Arab League, officials said.

  

They also discussed ways of "ending the violence in the Palestinian territories as well as reviving the Middle East peace process," the Petra news agency said.

 

Support

  

The leaders "stressed their support for all the steps adopted by the Iraqi people for the construction of a new and independent Iraq and said they should quickly recover their sovereignty," it said.

  

Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jasim Al Thani described the talks as "positive" and said they also focused on ways of developing economic ties.

 

"There is a Qatari will to support Jordan's economy by stepping up investments in the country"

Bassim Awad Allah,
Planning Minister, Jordan

A Qatari delegation will visit Jordan within a week "to examine investment opportunities in the field of tourism particularly in Aqaba" which Jordan declared a tax-free economic zone three years ago, he told Petra.

  

Jordanian Planning Minister Bassim Awad Allah also told the agency that "there is a Qatari will to support Jordan's economy by stepping up investments in the country" and that results will emerge within the next few months.

 

Cooperation

  

In January, Jordan and Qatar signed a number of economic cooperation agreements during a visit to Doha by Jordanian Prime Minister Faisal al-Fayez, including accords to prevent double taxation and to protect investments.

  

The countries were caught up in a diplomatic spat in 2002 over Aljazeera television broadcasting a controversial programme about Jordan.

  

That incident was compounded when Qatar's supreme court sentenced to death in October 2002 Firas Majali, an employee of Qatari state television and son of a former Jordanian information minister, on charges of spying.

  

The Qatari Amir pardoned Majali in March 2003.