JERUSALEM (Jul. 20)
Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and his Jordanian counterpart, Abdul Salam al-Majali, have decided to meet on a monthly basis and will take turns hosting each other in their respective countries.
The two officials agreed to establish regular contact at the conclusion of their meeting on Wednesday.
Described repeatedly by both political leaders as “historic,” the meeting, on the Jordanian shore of the Dead Sea, marked the first time an Israeli official publicly set foot on Jordanian soil.
“It took us 15 minutes to fly over,” said Peres, when he arrived by helicopter for the meeting with Majali and U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher.
“It took us 46 years to arrive at this time and place of peace and promise,” Peres added.
The three-way meeting of foreign ministers, which came two days after Israeli and Jordanian officials began negotiating such issues as borders and water rights, focused on regional economic cooperation.
The trilateral meeting took place five days before Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Jordanian King Hussein were to hold a historic summit in Washington.
Reporters failed to get Peres and Majali to say whether the two countries, which have been formally at war for 46 years, would announce their mutual recognition at next week’s White House meeting.
The two leaders did express the belief, after the two countries had been in a technical state of war since 1948, that their two countries were about to embark on an era of peaceful relations.
“Peace,” Peres said, “is not the World Cup. We are not going to have one group winning. We are going to have all groups winning in (terms of mutual) understanding.”
“The war is behind (us). Peace is a state of mind, it is not a matter of declarations,” said Majali. “Peace is here, as we can see.”