Jordanian Official Rules out Discussion of a Confederation

Jordan’s foreign minister has reacted coolly to the idea of considering a Jordanian-Palestinian confederation as a possible solution to final status of the administered territories.

Kamal Abu Jaber, visiting Hungary on a three-day official visit, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in an interview that for the time being, Jordan does “not want to bring a new element” into the Middle East talks.

A confederation between Jordan and the Palestinians, something long favored by Israel’s Labor Party, “won’t serve the purpose of what the Jordanian kingdom wants to achieve during the peace talks,” he said.

The foreign minister also told JTA that the Labor Party’s victory in last week’s Israeli elections seems to open up new possibilities in the peace process.

His remarks echoed those made by Palestinian negotiators who just spent 11 days in Jordan consulting on a common strategy for the peace talks.

Abu Jaber said that the difference between the nine months that Labor leader Yitzhak Rabin says is necessary to negotiate Palestinian autonomy and the six months the Palestinians are calling for “is not a big deal.”

He said he hoped an “interim self-governing authority” could be realized in the near future.

“This is the last chance for peace, and it should be grasped,” Abu Jaber said. Otherwise, “darkness and the Middle Ages will return.”

He added that Jordan insists on a settlement that is “just, and permanent and durable.” Any solution, he said, must be based on the idea of exchange of land for peace, the right of the Palestinians to self-determination and “the Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories, including the city of Jerusalem.”

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