Jordan on Tuesday moved to sooth a mounting war of words with Syria after a series of attacks in the two countries' press over the past several weeks.
Jordanian Prime Minister Faisal Fayez phoned his Syrian counterpart, Mohammad al Ittri, in a diplomatic offensive aimed at calming growing media-related tension between the two neighboring countries.
"Fayez underscored the depth of relations between the two brethren countries," Petra news agency reported. "The two Prime Ministers discussed means of further boosting ties in all spheres."
Petra cited Ittri as stressing his "country's keenness to improve ties with Jordan for the mutual benefit."
The call came on the heels of a strongly worded article against Jordan's King Abdullah in the Syrian Ba'ath newspaper, the mouthpiece of the ruling party.
The newspaper blamed Amman of acting "as a backyard base for the U.S. intervention in Iraq and intervening in Iraq's internal affairs" and rebuffed anti-Syrian articles in one of the daily newspapers in Jordan, Al-Arab Al-Yawm.
The Syrian newspaper asked, "Has the U.S. administration announced, through the Jordanian King, its second stage of gaining control in the Middle East region?"
Furthermore, the Syrian paper said the "hostile" Jordanian comments made by king Abdullah may result from Damascus' strong opposition that Jordan would become a hub for the transit of goods from Israel to Iraq."
Meanwhile, King Abdullah and President Assad postponed the inauguration late last month of a mega-dam on the borders of their two countries amid the current war of words between the media of both countries.
The Syrian media attack came after King Abdullah II said in an interview with CNN during a visit to the U.S. last week that the borders between occupied Iraq and Syria were not secure enough. He was referring to possible infiltrations into Iraq in support of the growing armed resistance in the country.
Al-Arab Al-Yawm wrote on Tuesday in a front-page opinion column that the King's remarks "were not his own opinion, but he was rather reflecting the different stands within the U.S. on Iraq's borders with its neighbors."
Moreover, the paper had run articles branding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a hypocrite for adopting a "dual approach to the U.S. and the Arab-Israeli conflict." (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )