WASHINGTON (Jan. 17)
The Reagan Administration indicated today that it sees the reconvening of the Jordanian Parliament by King Hussein yesterday as a step toward renewal or Middle East peace talks.
“The best way to give new impetus to the peace process would be for the early entry of Jordan into negotiations with Israel,” State Department deputy spokesman Alan Romberg said. “We support King Hussein’s efforts to create the conditions necessary for him to enter the peace talks with Israel.” Romberg said the U.S. understands that among those conditions the King feels are necessary are backing from the Palestinians and other Arab states.
Hussein, in addressing the Parliament which he re convened for the first time in 10 years, appealed to the “free and legitimate” Palestine Liberation Organization to work with him to seek “a practical formula that will enable us to perform our duty toward Jerusalem, Palestine and its people.” By “free and legitimate”, Hussein apparently was referring to the PLO headed by Yasir Arafat and not the Syrian-backed anti-Arafat group.
Romberg sidestepped questions as to whether Israel would join the talks since it opposed- President Reagan’s September I, 1982 peace initiative. “I’m not going to try to speak for Israel,” he said. ”The next step is essentially for King Hussein to obtain the support he needs.”
Romberg reiterated the U.S. position that it does not expect all of the parties who enter the talks to support the Reagan initiative. He stressed that the talks would be held under the framework set up by the Camp David agreements.
Romberg said the U.S. will enter the talks with the belief that the Reagan initiative offers the best solution. “If others come to the table with other positions, fine,” he said. “The point is to go back and talk. “