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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crist's last leg: Amman and Petra

Cristjordan_2 Gov. Charlie Crist wrapped up his week-long trade and goodwill trip to Israel with a visit Sunday to Jordan and a meeting with King Abdullah II in the presidential compound in Amman. He later made a whirlwind tour of the fascinating southern Jordan town of Petra, with its breathtaking rock formations (photo above) and giant 2,200-year-old tombs carved out of sandstone.

Crist said the talk with the King ranged across the Israel-Palestinian conflict and the broader Arab-Israeli problem, as well as other issues. U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler of Delray Beach, who considers King Abdullah the most moderate Arab voice in the Middle East, said they also discussed the threat of Iran's planned nuclear program, agriculture, tourism, physical education and converting wind into energy among other topics. King Abdullah II, 45, is the son of the late King Hussein

Wexler has met with King Abdullah before. What was different about this meeting, Wexler said, was that they spent half the meeting focused on new ways Jordan can interact with Florida. The king, a frequent visitor to Florida, expressed an interest in Florida's skill at building golf courses. The first major Jordanian golf resort is under construction near the Dead Sea.

Wexler, a Democrat who is a strong supporter of Israel and has a large Jewish constituency, declared Crist's trip a success. "Charlie Crist has established himself as a strong friend of Israel," Wexler said, "and he has enhanced his credentials in the American Jewish community a great deal."   

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 2:26pm]


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