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Mubarak Conferring with Hussein in Wake of Shamir Election Plan

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak flew to Amman on Wednesday afternoon for brief talks with Jordan’s King Hussein in advance of the king’s visit to Washington next week.

Mubarak was in Washington last week, followed almost immediately by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. Hussein’s visit to the White House on April 19 will round off a month in which the Bush administration has focused on moving the stalled Middle East peace process forward.

As a part of that bid, the U.S. president spoke by telephone to King Fahd of Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. The White House has declined to divulge the contents of their conversation.

Mubarak has been the least negative of Arab leaders toward the idea of elections in the administered territories, which Shamir proposed last week during his talks with Bush and Secretary of State James Baker.

The administration hopes that Hussein and Fahd, too, will be prepared to consider the idea and not reject it out of hand. This would give Washington clout in its ongoing efforts to persuade the Palestine Liberation Organization to go along with an election scenario under some mutually accepted form of international or thirdparty supervision.

Vice Premier Shimon Peres, the Labor Party leader, has said that he would not oppose some such observation. Shamir, who heads the Likud bloc, said in New York on Tuesday that he opposes a U.N. role in the elections.

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