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Prince Zeid Bin Ra’ad, a Jordanian diplomat with close ties to Jewish leaders, began serving as his nation’s envoy to Washington. Until last year Zeid was Jordan’s envoy to the United Nations, where he cultivated close ties with Jewish groups and worked with them to modify some of the world body’s anti-Israel rhetoric.

Zeid’s ties with Jewish groups are thought to have helped scuttle his bid to become U.N. secretary-general. Zeid began his work in Washington on Tuesday, a week before King Abdullah II arrives in Washington to make his case to Congress and President Bush for greater U.S. involvement in brokering an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

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