AMMAN - King Abdullah II of Jordan conferred Sunday with former U.S. president Jimmy Carter and said that Israel must lift the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip and stop expanding Jewish settlements on Palestinian land.

In a royal court statement, the king also stressed the need for "tangible progress" in the ongoing peace negotiations between Israel and Palestinians.

"The monarch underscored the importance of achieving tangible progress in the peace talks between the two sides and ensuring the availability of circumstances that lead to success of the negotiating process and the setting up of an independent Palestinian state," a royal court statement said.

King Abdullah expressed "appreciation for Carter's active role and contributions towards the establishment of peace in the region, ending the Arab Israeli conflict and boosting world peace".

Carter briefed the king on the outcome of his Middle East tour, which included a meeting in Damascus with Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal earlier this week.

The former U.S. president arrived in Amman earlier Sunday in the course of a regional fact-finding mission that has taken him to Israel, Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia.

Carter was reportedly planning to visit Israel again this week to brief Israeli leaders on his talks with Meshal regarding a proposed truce between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip as well as an exchange of prisoners between them. Meshal said Saturday that he would announce his decision regarding Carter's proposals on Sunday.

Carter also held separate talks in Amman with Jordanian Foreign Minister Salah Bashir.