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Israel Accepts U. N. Invitation to Meet with Jordan in Jerusalem

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The Israel Government today informed the United Nations that it accepts the invitation for direct Israel-Jordan talks extended to both governments by UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold. A statement to this effect was presented today to Mr. Hammarskjold by Mordecai Kidron, deputy head of the Israel delegation to the United Nations.

In its statement, Israel urged the UN Secretary General to start the talks as early as possible.. At a press conference here today Mr. Hammarskjold said that he could decide on a date which would suit himself, but that he felt as there were three parties involved–Israel, Jordan and Mr. Hammarskjold–the others should be consulted.

“I hope Jordan will accept the invitation to the conference,” Mr. Hammarskjold said. However, if Jordan refused, he indicated that he would set a date. “Some time, perhaps not in our generation, there must be peace in the Middle East but there are too many unresolved problems to bring it about now,” he declared. For that reason, he said, the conference did not aim at initiating any peace talks. He indicated that he had asked that the agenda be considered within the framework of the conference “to prevent a sterile argument” as had developed at the Panmunjom negotiations.

AGENDA OF CONFERENCE TO BE FIXED AT FIRST MEETING

In its communication today, the Israel Government expressed the hope that under Mr. Hammarskjold’s chairmanship, the two parties will overcome the problems of procedure and agenda “without difficulty.” “The Government of Israel hopes that in their discussion of the procedure and agenda the two parties will agree to assume direct responsibility for the conduct of the conference,” the communication stated.

“If in your view, Jerusalem is the most suitable venue for the conference the Government of Israel would suggest that meetings be held in the Israel and Jordan parts of the city alternatively,” the statement continued, “the Government of Israel would wish the conference to be held the earliest date compatible with your convenience,” it concluded.

DR. BUNCHE NAMED HEAD OF U.N. BODY TO STUDY JORDAN RIVER PLANS

The appointment of an inter-department committee under Dr. Ralph Bunche to study the various plans for the use of the Jordan River waters was announced here today by Secretary General Hammarskjold.

He told a press conference that the committee, which would be within the UN secretariat, would take into consideration the political aspects of these plans–the Yarmuk plan, the Israeli plan and the so-called TVA plan, Mr. Hammarskjold indicated that the study was only for the benefit and information of the Secretary General.

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