JERUSALEM (Apr. 30)
The Israeli media reported Thursday elements of an agreement reportedly reached between Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and King Hussein of Jordan on an international conference for Middle East Peace. The two were said to have met recently in London.
But Peres’ office issued a strong denial later in the day. It said the report of an agreement between Peres and Hussein in London was “without foundation” and “part of the production of a rumor and speculation factory aimed at torpedoing the peace process.” The statement added that those efforts were doomed to failure, an implication that there was a deliberate campaign afoot to wreck negotiations by publishing rumor.
The media reports referred variously to a working paper or memorandum of understanding which sets the terms of reference and procedures for convening an international conference and has the backing of the United States.
POINTS IN THE AGREEMENT
According to the media, the United Nations Secretary General will summon the five permanent members of the Security Council — U.S., USSR, Britain, France and the People’s Republic of China — and the parties in the Middle East to a conference aimed at achieving a comprehensive peace settlement in the region based on Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and providing for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.
The conference will serve as an opening and introduction to meetings of bilateral committees, each composed of Israel and an Arab neighbor. The bilateral committees would attempt to resolve the outstanding differences between the parties in order to reach a comprehensive settlement.
Israel Radio reported Thursday that the memorandum contained a secret annex that includes a Jordanian undertaking to Israel not to include on the Jordanian negotiating team members of the Palestine Liberation Organization, whose presence would cause Israel to immediately to break off the talks.
But there was no commitment that Israel would have advance knowledge of the Palestinian representatives in the Jordanian delegation, Israel Radio said.
It said the annex was an American document conveyed by U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering to Premier Yitzhak Shamir and Foreign Minister Peres. Likud has charged that the entire plan is Peres’ and that Pickering in effect served as a “postman” between the Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister.