U.S. Cites Basis for Meeting with a Joint Jordanian-palestinian Delegation

The State Department stressed today that if the United States meets with a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation it will be to bring about direct negotiations between Israel and the Jordanian-Palestinian representatives.

“We are prepared to meet with a group of Jordanians and Palestinians if such a meeting would clearly point toward that goal,” Robert Smalley, a State Department spokesman, said. “The ultimate objective is to bring two delegations together, an Israeli one on the one hand and a joint Palestinian-Jordanian delegation on the other.”

Smalley’s comments came as he confirmed that Jordan has sent the U.S. a list of Palestinians from which the State Department will decide whether any are acceptable as the Palestinian members of the joint delegation.

The Jordanian action was revealed over the weekend by King Hussein in Amman. Secretary of State George Shultz said yesterday in Australia that the U.S. has received the names “and we are in the process of evaluating them.” Neither Shultz nor Smalley would reveal any of the names.

U.S. WILL NOT ACCEPT PLO MEMBERS

Smalley said he did not know whether the Palestine Liberation Organization had played a part in selecting the list. But according to reports, Hussein had received a list from PLO leader Yasir Arafat.

Smalley reiterated that the U.S. would not accept members of the PLO on the delegation. He quoted Shultz who, at a press conference last May during Hussein’s visit to Washington, said: “We are looking for people of good will who are truly dedicated to non-violent negotiated solutions and truly ready to strive for peace with Israel.”

The U.S. will keep Israel fully consulted on all steps of the peace process, Smalley said. But he refused to say whether Israel would have any say in selecting or rejecting names on the Jordanian list.

The U.S. has said it will accept members of the Palestine National Council, who are not members of the PLO, on the delegation. But Israel considers all members of the PNC as members of the PLO.

Smalley could not give any time limit for the U.S. decision to be made. He said the U.S. hoped the negotiations between Israel and a Jordanian-Palestinian delegation could begin this year.

If the U.S. approves members of the Palestinian delegation, Richard Murphy, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, would head the U.S. delegation for talks with a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation. Murphy is not expected to go to the Mideast until a decision is made on the list of Palestinians.

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