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Israeli foreign minister claims ties with Jordan not in crisis

JERUSALEM, May 7 (JTA) — Foreign Minister David Levy was invited to visit Jordan a day after a meeting between the Crown Prince and Israeli prime minister was canceled because of a dispute over water. Although no date was set for Levy’s visit, the foreign minister said Wednesday’s invitation was proof that relations between the countries were not in crisis. The previous day Jordan canceled a meeting between Crown Prince Hassan and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu because of disagreements over water supplies promised in the 1994 Israeli- Jordanian peace treaty. King Hussein spoke by phone with Netanyahu this week in an effort to smooth the latest strains in bilateral ties. Under the terms of the peace treaty, Israel was to supply large quantities of water to Jordan. But talks this week on the water issue involving Jordanian officials and Infrastructure Minister Ariel Sharon ended in deadlock. As a result, Crown Prince Hassan and other top Jordanian officials abruptly canceled their participation at a ceremony Tuesday to inaugurate a memorial site on the two countries’ border for the seven Israeli schoolgirls killed March 13 by a Jordanian soldier. Netanyahu was to have conferred with Hassan at the site, thereby demonstrating that not all top-level dialogue in the region is at a standstill. After the cancellation of the meeting, the ceremony was also called off. Israel said it would be rescheduled.