Jordan's PM assures Abbas of his country's support

Jordan's prime minister met Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday and renewed Jordan's support for the Palestinian Authority to help it consolidate control over the West Bank and Gaza Strip. New premier Marouf al-Bakhit, a former ambassador to Israel, said Jordan will "remain a strong supporter of its Palestinian brothers in their efforts to regain their legitimate rights and establish their state on their national soil," according to the official Petra news agency. Abbas arrived in Jordan en route to Rome for talks with Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi and other top officials. Roughly half of Jordan's 5.1 million population comprises Palestinians and their descendants who fled or were driven from their homes in the 1948 and 1967 Arab-Israeli wars. Jordan and Israel also have a 1994 peace treaty, but relations between both have been strained since the Palestinian uprising started September 28, 2000.