TEL AVIV (Feb. 3)
Defense Minister Shimon Peres indicated today that he saw no need for interim talks with Jordan and that any negotiations with that country should be for a final peace settlement Peres meds his remarks in a broadcast on the Army Radio Station. He said that for all practical purposes, the situation that interim negotiations could achieve already exists., The borders with Jordan are quiet, the Jordan River bridges are open and the tone of relations with Jordan even in Jordanian statements, is polite. he said.
Peres expressed his views as reports reached Israel that Premier Yitzhak Rabin broached the subject of talks with Jordan to President Ford at their White House meetings last week and that the President appeared to accept Rabin’s “Jordanian option” by which the Palestinian Issue would be settled in the context of Israeli-Jordan negotiations. According to the reports. President Ford said the U.S. would feel out King Hussein on this plan when the Jordanian ruler visits Washington in March.
LEBANESE ARMY IN FORMER POSITION
Meanwhile, Peres disclosed that the Lebanese army has returned to its former positions in southern Lebanon near the Israel border which it had evacuated during the height of the Lebanese civil war last month. However, according to Peres, the Lebanese forces returning to the region consist of about two battalions, one less than before their evacuation. He also reported that one of the Palestine Liberation Army battalions that entered Lebanon last month has returned to Syria.
Peres said there are presently four of the Syrian-sponsored PLA battalions in Lebanon, consisting of between 1500-2000 men without tanks or artillery. Nevertheless, Peres said, they constitute a significant force when added to the 10,000 Palestinian terrorists in Lebanon.
Peres said the Palestinians were employed guarding the various refugee camps and training depots during the Lebanese fighting. He said their presence did not affect Israel and that there has been no increase of terrorist activity along the Lebanese border, although Israeli forces are prepared for any eventuality.