updated 5/14/2009 8:15:25 AM ET 2009-05-14T12:15:25

An Israeli official says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in neighboring Jordan to discuss regional issues with King Abdullah II.

The lightning visit comes ahead of Netanyahu's first visit to Washington since taking office in March. Earlier this week, Netanyahu flew to Egypt for talks with President Hosni Mubarak.

Netanyahu has been trying to forge cooperation with moderate Arab nations against what he says is a threat posed by Iran and its regional proxies, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli official who confirmed the trip to Jordan spoke on condition of anonymity, pending a formal announcement from the prime minister's office.

Later Thursday, the prime minister heads to northern Israel to meet the visiting Pope Benedict XVI.

More on   Israel   |  Netanyahu   |  Jordan   |  King Abdullah II

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