WASHINGTON : King Comes Calling

King Hassan II of Morocco will visit Washington--and make his first call on President Clinton--on Wednesday. The trip will focus on strengthening bilateral relations, but the two leaders are expected to discuss the role of Islamic nations in world affairs as well. Hassan is president of the summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

Hassan's visit is also seen as a payoff for Morocco's pivotal behind-the-scenes role in the Mideast peace process. One of the longest-serving Arab leaders, he has hosted Israeli leaders at conferences in Morocco and has encouraged other Arab states to break down old barriers. His country is one of Washington's closest friends in the Arab world.

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