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Jordan Reply on Israel Parley Bid Not Final, Hammarskjold Says

Jordan has neither accepted nor rejected a second bid to meet with Israel under the Jewish State’s invocation of Article XII of the armistice, Dag Hammarskjold, Secretary General of the United Nations, said today. He told a press conference that Jordan, in its reply received here Monday, had not taken a definite stand either way but had raised the question of why such a conference was necessary and what could be accomplished in a meeting under Article XII which could not be accomplished in a meeting of the Israel-Jordan Mixed Armistice Commission.

Mr. Hammarskjold said however that “once the initiative has been taken by Israel for a conference with Jordan, then it is harmful not to follow this up. It would reflect unfavorably on the armistice agreements if the conference were not held.”

The Secretary General pointed out that he was under legal obligation to convoke an Israel-Jordan meeting unless Israel withdrew its request. He noted that Jordan had asked for substantive reasons for holding the conference and said the matter would have to be “fully explored” before he could proceed to convoke the meeting. Mr. Hammarskjold expressed himself in favor of holding such a conference since, he said, it could agree on broad principles which could give new impetus to the work of the Mixed Armistice Commission.

Mr. Hammarskjold also expressed concern today over the situation resulting from the Soviet veto in the Bnot Yaakov case. He said UN truce chief Maj. Gen. Vagn Bennike was engaged in exploring with Israel Government officials the question of the Jordan hydroelectric project but emphasized that these talks were “exploratory.”

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