UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Oct. 15)
Unconfirmed reports circulated today that Israel’s Foreign Minister Abba Eban conferred here together with Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdel Moneim Rifai and UN Middle East peace envoy Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring. An Israeli source confirmed that Mr. Eban met Dr. Jarring but denied that Mr. Rifai was present.
“If Mr. Rifai was there, the meeting was historical,” one UN observer said. It is known that Mr. Rifai returned Monday night from London where he had been conferring with King Hussein of Jordan, reportedly on Middle East peace matters. According to earlier reports, efforts were being made to try to get Mr. Eban, Mr. Rifai and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad together during the current General Assembly session. It is believed that those efforts by Dr. Jarring were not fruitful.
An Israeli spokesman said today that Mr. Eban had been in “frequent contact” with Dr. Jarring and that at today’s meeting the Foreign Minister gave him a comprehensive account of Israel’s views in light of its policy statement made in the General Assembly Oct. 8. At that time. Mr. Eban presented a nine-point peace plan. “These contacts will continue and the Foreign Minister will be available at UN headquarters for this purpose. Israel hopes that this resumption of activity within the framework of the Jarring mission will contribute to the advancement of efforts to promote a permanent peace,” the spokesman said.
(Official sources in Jerusalem confirmed today that there was “feverish activity” at the UN and in London regarding possible talks between Israeli and Jordanian representatives through Dr. Jarring. The sources said that as yet there were no concrete results. They cited a passage in Mr. Eban’s UN speech in which he said that Israel would make its views on substantive matters known only to an Arab government that declares its intention of arriving at a peace treaty and that given such a declaration, Israel would not insist on face-to-face talks with the Arab representatives at the outset. The sources said, however, that no such declaration has been given so far by any authorized Arab statesman either privately or publicly. They noted that a declaration of that kind would run counter to the decisions at last August’s Arab summit meeting in Khartoum where the Arab leaders said there would be no recognition, no negotiations and no peace with Israel.)
(London newspapers reported today that a serious conflict has arisen in Jordan between Amman authorities and Palestinian commandos. They based their reports on a broadcast yesterday by the Cairo-based El Fatah radio, voice of the main commando group operating against Israel from Jordanian soil. The broadcast charged that there was a conspiracy in Amman “to liquidate the commandos” and appealed to Jordanian armed forces and to Bedouin tribesmen not to act against the guerrillas. The broadcast said liquidation of the commandos was the price being offered for a political settlement of the Middle East crisis “by those who care only about preserving their shaky seats.”)
(The London Financial Times carried unconfirmed reports from Amman that Jordanian authorities have begun to arrest commandos and confiscate their weapons. “If true, this would constitute a major development in the Middle East which is bound to have repercussions on Jordan’s internal scene and on the Arab situation as a whole,” the newspaper said.)
(Foreign Ministry sources in Jerusalem today discounted British press reports that King Hussein might be willing to talk to a top Israeli official. They noted that in the past such rumors have not been substantiated at meetings of Arab representatives with Dr. Jarring or with any diplomats of friendly countries.)