Syrian President Hafez Assad ended his first visit to Jordan in nine years without any signs of significant progress in narrowing Syrian-Jordanian differences on the problems facing the Arab world.
Assad, who arrived yesterday in the Jordanian capital with his prime minister, Abdul Rauf Kasm, and his foreign minister, Farouk Charaa, held three closed sessions of talks with King Hussein.
No communique was issued. Hussein bade Assad farewell at Amman's military airport, and the two leaders embraced and exchanged the traditional Arab kiss on both cheeks.
Following the departure ceremony, Jordanian Information Minister Mohammed Khatib told reporters that the talks between Hussein and Assad "concentrated on exploring ways of fostering a joint Arab position to confront all the dangers facing the Arab nation and on improving inter-Arab coordination to pave the way for a successful and effective Arab summit conference.
"The talks were successful in that respect and achieved excellent progress towards arriving at a joint Arab stand," the Jordanian minister added.
Asked whether Jordan, which supports Iraq, and Syria, which supports Iran, had managed to narrow their differences on the Persian Gulf war during Assad's visit, the Jordanian official would say only that Hussein and Assad had discussed the six-year-old conflict as "a basic issue" of concern to Arabs.
Syria and Jordan were in opposite camps during the meeting of Arab foreign ministers in the Moroccan city of Fez last week to pave the way for an emergency Arab summit conference in the wake of the U.S. bombing of Libya. Syria backed Libya's call for an emergency Arab summit conference to deal only with the U.S. air strike, while Jordan sought a conclave on a wider range of issues.
Although Syria and Jordan remain in disagreement on foreign policy issues, their bilateral relations have steadily improved since their Saudi-brokered rapprochement got under way last September and was followed in late December by Hussein's visit to Damascus.