Iraq President Visits Jordan

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani (search) arrived in neighboring Jordan (search) Saturday on his first state visit abroad for talks expected to focus on improving ties strained by a February homicide bombing in Iraq erroneously blamed on a Jordanian.

Talabani received a red-carpet welcome on arrival at an Amman air base for his two-day visit and was met by Jordan's King Abdullah II (search) and top government officials.

The Iraqi president was accompanied by his country's ambassador, who had been recalled following a diplomatic spat that broke out after the Feb. 28 homicide bombing in Hillah, south of Baghdad, that killed 125 people and was wrongly blamed on a Jordanian militant.

Protests erupted in Iraq accusing Jordan of not doing enough to stop insurgents infiltrating into the war-ravaged country. The Jordanian government denied involvement, but both countries recalled their envoys. Jordan has already returned its charge d'affaires to Baghdad (search).

Government spokeswoman Asma Khader said Talabani's talks with Abdullah, which are due to open at an Amman hilltop palace immediately, are expected to focus on "consolidating bilateral ties between the two brotherly countries in all fields." She declined to elaborate.

Economic and security cooperation are expected to top Talabani's agenda during his visit, his first outside Iraq since being elected president in April.