PM Lee Hsien Loong meets Jordan's King Abdullah II and PM Abdullah Ensour in Amman

Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong (left) speaking with Jordan's King Abdullah II in Amman on April 17, 2016.
Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong (left) speaking with Jordan's King Abdullah II in Amman on April 17, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

AMMAN, Jordan - Singapore and Jordan have agreed on the need for closer cooperation in countering extremism, sharing of expertise and stepping up economic cooperation.

These were among areas discussed when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was hosted to lunch by King Abdullah II of Jordan at the Al Husseinieh Palace on Sunday, the second day of Mr Lee's visit to Jordan.

They also agreed on the urgent need for Israel and the Palestinians to resume direct negotiations to achieve the two-state solution, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said after the meeting.

King Abdullah has been a strong voice of moderation and an advocate of a viable and lasting solution to conflicts in the Middle East.

He initiated the Amman Message in 2004, which underlines the key principles of tolerance, moderation and dialogue that Islam teaches - a message that is seen as a response to Muslims who sow violence in the name of faith and others who depict Islam as violent and stir anti-Muslim sentiment.

Mr Lee conveyed his appreciation for King Abdullah's "leadership role in promoting the Amman Message and inter-faith dialogue, which has greater salience at a time of heightened religious and sectarian strife", the PMO said in a statement.

Jordanian news agency Petra reported that both leaders stressed the need to address the threat of terrorism posed by groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in a holistic manner.

They also reaffirmed the warm and friendly relations between their countries. Jordan was one of four countries that sponsored Singapore's bid for United Nations membership in 1965, and Singapore signed its first free trade agreement in the Middle East with Jordan in 1994.

Since assuming the throne in 1999, King Abdullah has made 12 visits to Singapore.

Mr Lee was greeted on Sunday morning by Prime Minister and Defence Minister Abdullah Ensour at an official welcome ceremony and inspected the Royal Guards.

Both leaders agreed to step up cooperation in capacity-building programmes to support human resource development in Jordan.

Singapore would be happy to share its experience in areas such as vocational and skills training, water resource management, public sector leadership and mediation, Mr Lee said.

Dr Ensour updated him on economic developments in Jordan and invited Singapore companies to take advantage of Jordan's FTAs with several countries.

Dr Ensour and his wife will also host an official dinner in honour of Mr and Mrs Lee on Sunday evening.

On Monday, Mr Lee will be hosted to breakfast by Chief Advisor for Religious and Cultural Affairs Prince Ghazi Bin Muhammad Bin Talal.

He will then head to Israel, the next stop on his visit to the region during which he will also visit the Palestinian Territories.