PARIS (Jan. 12)
King Hussein of Jordan, warning of chaos unless there is speedy movement in the Middle East peace process, urged Monday the convening of an international peace conference on the Middle East with the participation of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and “all those concerned by this problem, including the Palestinians.”
“Something must be done rapidly. Otherwise, all hope will be lost and the entire region will be plunged into a chaotic situation,” Hussein said in an interview with Le Monde, published as the Jordanian monarch arrived here for an official three-day visit.
He was greeted at Orly Airport by President Francois Mitterrand and Premier Jacques Chirac, both of whom he will be meeting later during his stay. Hussein is expected to urge France and other Western European countries to convene a preparatory conference on the Middle East at the earliest moment.
According to Arab diplomats here, Hussein will call on France and Western Europe to persuade the United States not to veto an international peace conference. The U.S. and Israeli leaders are opposed to any forum that would replace direct Arab-Israel negotiations and reintroduce the Soviet Union into Middle East affairs.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Murphy reiterated Washington’s position in Cairo Sunday at the end of a Middle East tour that took him to Jordan, Israel and Egypt. He called for direct talks between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
Hussein told reporter here he has discerned no visible changes in Israeli policy since the rotation of power last October when Likud leader Yitzhak Shamir replaced Laborite Shimon Peres as Prime Minister.
He also said that despite his break with Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat last February, after a year of fruitless efforts to agree on a common negotiations formula, he still recognizes the PLO as “the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.”