WASHINGTON (May. 6)
King Hussein of Jordan said on Saturday that any Middle East peace negotiations would have to include the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Soviet Union.
His statement appeared to confirm reports that Jordan had failed to win PLO approval of a formula providing for direct negotiations between Israel and a proposed joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation that would not include known members of the organization.
Assistant Secretary of State Richard Murphy reportedly explored the possibility of forming such a delegation when he visited the region last month. But Hussein made clear in his address by satellite to the National Association of Arab Americans this weekend that Jordan would not agree to any initiative that lacked PLO endorsement.
“It is the consensus among Palestinians that the PLO is their legitimate representative in any negotiations determining their future. We are their partners according to their choice. We will never take away from them their right to represent themselves,” Hussein told the luncheon group of some 1,000 people who responded with several minutes of applause.
CAUTIONS AGAINST MISSING AN OPPORTUNITY
Maintaining that the agreement concluded last February between Jordan and the PLO “holds enormous promise” for a negotiated settlement, Hussein repeated an earlier warning that the initiative could be the last chance for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
“This opportunity should not be missed. It is an opportunity that I know will never come again if we fail,” Hussein said.
The February II agreement calls for Palestinian self-determination in the framework of “the proposed confederated Arab states of Jordan and Palestine,” to be negotiated under the auspices of an international conference, with the PLO represented jointly with Jordan.
It endorses United Nations Security Council Resolutions, but avoids specific mention of Resolutions 242 and 338, which provide for the right of all states in the region to live peacefully within recognized borders. The U.S. has refused to negotiate with the PLO until it recognizes Israel’s right to exist and endorses these resolutions.
The PLO has reportedly conditioned its acceptance of a joint Jordan-Palestinian delegation without known members of the organization on U.S. recognition of a Palestinian right to “self-determination.”
In his address on Saturday, Hussein said that the Jordanian positions on PLO and Soviet representation “are not fully understood in the United States,” and stressed that his country still backs the holding of an international conference with the participation of all five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.
HUSSEIN EXPECTS TO MEET REAGAN SOON
Despite the indication that Murphy’s visit to the region had yielded no results, Hussein said it was “a very useful visit.”
“I think that as a result, the United States understands us better, and I hope that we understand the United States better,” the Jordanian leader said. Hussein said he expected to meet with President Reagan at the end of the month, when he will be in the country to attend his son’s college graduation.
During last week the National Association of Arab Americans had paid commercials on radio opposing aid to Israel, claiming that this aid is being doubled at a time when Americans are being asked to make cuts.