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Sharon Rejects Role for PLO in Mideast Peace Negotiations

Defense Minister Ariel Sharon today rejected any PLO participation in peace negotiations. In an apparent response to reports from Amman that King Hussein and PLO leader Yasir Arafat were near agreement on the formation of a joint Palestinian-Jordanian delegation to take part in Middle East peace talks the United States is trying to set up, the Defense Ministry today issued a special communique in the name of Sharon.

Israel has in the past indicated that it would not examine too closely the past activities of any Palestinian appointed as a member of a Jordanian delegation to any talks Jordan holds with Israel on peace agreements.

But today’s statement said that Sharon was willing to negotiate with Palestinians in Judaea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip who seek coexistence with Israel. But Sharon rejected talking to any Palestinian emissaries of the PLO.

REJECTS STATEMENT BY IRAQ

The Defense Minister also rejected a recent Iraqi statement which indicated recognition of Israel’s security needs, regarded by many Israelis as an interesting change in Iraq’s previously completely diehard attitude towards anything Israeli.

Sharon said he regarded the Iraqi statement by President Saddam Hussein to U.S. Rep, Stephen Solarz (D. N.Y.) last August 25, which was released only last week by the Iraqi government for publication, merely as a “publicity stunt” to get American support for Iraq in its war with Iran. Sharon recalled that Iraq has participated in all the wars against Israel and that Hussein is concerned about Iraq’s security needs, and not those of Israel.

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