Jordan, Ready for Peace Talks, is Balked by Egyptian Refusal to Approve

Jordan, in principle, is still ready for direct peace negotiations with Israel but “certain difficulties” bar the way to such talks, political circles said here yesterday. The “difficulties” were not specified, but it is understood that part of the trouble lies in Egypt’s refusal to give Jordan a green light for talks with Israel.

This assessment of the situation was based on the talks between Foreign Minister Abba Eban and UN peace envoy Ambassador Gunnar V. Jarring in The Hague two weeks ago and Dr. Jarring’s meeting in London this week with Ambassador Gideon Rafael, director-general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry. Mr. Rafael spoke to Dr. Jarring shortly after the latter’s meeting with Jordanian Foreign Minister, Abdul Moneim el-Rifai, also in London. It is not expected here that Dr. Jarring will bring the Arab-Israeli dispute back to the Security Council. Observers said that he does not consider his mission to have reached either an end or an unbreakable deadlock.

According to some West Bank Arab leaders who recently visited Amman, and a circumstantial report published in a Beirut daily, King Hussein pleaded desperately with his top military commanders last week for their endorsement of separate peace negotiations with Israel “without the advice or approval of any other Arab state.” According to the reports, the generals angrily rebuffed Hussein and a deep rift now exists between the King and his Army.

Hussein reportedly summoned about 100 men, whom he regarded his most loyal and devoted officers, to a secret session in Amman. He told them that “Jordan alone cannot and will not be able to fight Israel.” He is reported to have said, “we are losing all the time. We have lost half our territories. We lost half our warriors in the guerrilla bands. We have lost all of our income from tourists and our hardships continue.”

He then reportedly told the officers, “I called you here to get your support to try to reach a political solution with Israel.” He told them of his failure to get support for Jordan from either France, England or the United States. He said there was no hope of aid from the Arab countries.

The Egyptian television broadcast a recorded interview with King Hussein who took a hard line on the Arab-Israel dispute and asserted that the Arabs will never give up their rights to Jerusalem or “one inch of land.” The ruler said that “Israel must realize that there can be no peace in the Middle East until Arab rights are regained.”

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