VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 12, 2005 ( Benedict XVI received King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan in audience, a meeting that the monarch said focused on the Mideast crisis and problems linked to religious freedom.

The king told Italian public television what the discussion touched on at the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo. The Vatican press office, for its part, gave no details on the audience. The Pope has been meeting this month with various heads of state and government.

A communiqué issued by the Royal House of Jordan on the eve of the meeting, cited by the Petra agency, clarified that the audience was "an occasion to promote interreligious dialogue and to affirm the noble values of humanity to combat extremism, terrorism and attempts to damage the real image of Islam."

Jordan, a neighbor to Iraq, is one of the Arab nations in which the Christian minority lives in conditions of tolerance and respect.

On Aug. 20, when meeting with leaders of Germany's Muslim communities, Benedict XVI urged that terrorism and "the wave of cruel fanaticism" not be allowed to poison relations between followers of Islam and Christianity.

King Abdullah will attend this week's session of the U.N. General Assembly, which will analyze the implementation of the commitments of the 2000 Millennium Summit, and seek agreement on U.N. reform.

The Jordanian monarch will address the United Nations on "Jordan's key role to achieve peace and regional and international stability."