Jordan Seen Edging Cautiously Toward Participating in Peace Talks

Jordan appears to be edging toward some sort of participation in peace talks with Israel. But it is moving with extreme caution and, according to reports from Amman there is sharp disagreement between King Hussein and Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat over the composition of the delegation which presumable) will speak for Jordan and the Palestinians.

Hussein, meanwhile, is trying to include Egypt in inter-Arab consultations over a Jordanian role it the peace process. Hikmat Al Masri, a resident of Nablus and former Speaker of the Jordanian parliament, has been dispatched on a mission to Cairo Israel Radio reported today. He will be meeting with Egyptian leaders on behalf of Hussein and Arafat who continue their talks in Amman.

Jordan has reportedly suggested that the delegation to the peace talks should not include PLO members per se but sympathizers, such as the deposed mayors of Hebron and Halhoul, Fahd Kawasme and Mohammed Milhim. The Jordanians argue this would make it awkward for Israel to refuse to negotiate a grounds that it will never deal with the PLO. But Arafat reportedly insists that the PLO be represented and identified as such.

Hussein and Arafat remain at adds. But the Jordanian King is not expected in any event to make an announcement with respect to the peace process urged after Premier Menachem Begin’s visit to Washing to late next month.

Meanwhile, tension mounted on the West Bank the military government clamped a curfew on the casbah (old section) of Nablus and ordered a local school closed for one month after violent demonstrations by local youths in which an Israeli border policeman was injured.

NEXT STORY