PM Tells Jordan King That Israel Won't Build New Settlements

Talks come day after Abdullah urges Israel to avoid unilateral measures that could compromise negotiations.

Israel will not build any new settlements in the West Bank and will avoid further land appropriations there, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Jordanian King Abdullah II during a meeting Thursday in Amman.

Earlier this week, Olmert told ministers in his cabinet of his intention to become more involved in the supervision of building in the West Bank.

Olmert met with Abdullah to discuss progress in the political process since the regional summit in Annapolis, Maryland last November.

In April, Olmert invited Abdullah on two separate occasions to visit Israel.

The invitation was extended twice, one in a telephone conversation, and again by Knesset Speaker Dahlia Itzik during her trip to Jordan.

Abdullah had in the past visited former prime minister Ariel Sharon's Sycamore ranch for secret talks revealed only after the meeting.

This time, Olmert invited the king to visit Israel for covert and official talks.

The Islamic Action Front (IAF), Jordan's largest political party, on Thursday condemned Olmert's visit.

"We condemn this visit, because it jeopardizes Jordan's supreme interests and runs counter to the country's declared policies," IAF Secretary General Zaki Banir Ershaid told DPA.

"Jordan should have refused receiving this criminal, because he arrived with his hands stained with blood of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip," he said.

Olmert visited Petra for closed talks in July, to discuss the two countries' relations and Hamas control of the Gaza Strip.

Abdullah urged Israel on Wednesday not to take unilateral measures that could compromise peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

After meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Red Sea resort of Aqaba, Abdullah stressed Israelis should especially avoid measures that affect final status issues.