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Hussein Declares PLO Must Be Included in Negotiations

June 3, 1985
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King Hussein of Jordan ended four days of talks with the Reagan Administration here last week by stressing that the Palestine Liberation Organization must be part of any peace negotiations with Israel.

“The parties to the conflict must be the parties to the peace,” Hussein said in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute Friday. “If the PLO is not a party to the conflict, then who?”

The King said he told President Reagan at their White House meeting last Wednesday that “the Palestinians are willing to accept United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and the principles they contain as a basis for peace.”

Hussein said that a result of his Feb. 11 agreement with PLO leader Yasir Arafat and his recent meetings with the PLO there is “new trust” between Jordan and the Palestinians. “This is the first time in the 39 year history of this conflict that Palestinian leaders with the support of their people have been willing to accept a negotiated settlement,” he said. The King said the next step in the peace process is for the United States to meet with a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation to prepare the way for an international conference which he said would provide for direct negotiations between the joint delegations and Israel. He reiterated that such a conference should include the five permanent members of the Security Council — the U.S., the Soviet Union, Britain, France and China.

But the Reagan Administration, which after Hussein’s meeting with Reagan seemed to be softening its opposition to an international conference, has made it clear that it still opposes any Soviet participation.

In addition, while Hussein said the PLO now accepts resolutions 242 and 338, the Administration still maintains that the terrorist organization must make this acceptance both “explicit and public” as well as announce its acceptance of Israel’s right to exit. The U.S., however, maintains that there are Palestinians who can be found for the delegation that would be acceptable.

Israel is opposed to an international conference, particularly one that would include the Soviet Union with which it has no diplomatic relations. Israel is also adament in its refusal to conduct any negotiations with any members of the PLO.


Hussein indicated that Syria might also attend the international conference although Damascus has been working against the peace process and has denounced the Hussein-Arafat agreement. The King said that resolutions 242 and 338 apply to the Golan Heights as well as the West Bank and Gaza.

Hussein declared that Reagan and other members of the Administration agree with him that “the world cannot afford to miss what might be the last opportunity for a peaceful agreement of the Arab-Israeli conflict.” The King warned that “failure is bound to encourage and strengthen extremists on both sides.”


In response to a written question on what peace would look like Hussein replied, “It will look good.” But in his speech he cited the elements of a peace agreement as an exchange of territory for peace, defined and recognized borders and security for all parties.

Hussein’s speech was given before an overflow audience at the Madison Hotel that included reporters, businessmen, diplomats, educators and others involved in Mideast affairs. Among them were many representatives of major American Jewish organizations.

Concluding his speech by again stressing the need for progress in the peace process, Hussein quoted Reagan who in a speech dealing with economics said, “If not us, who? If not now, when?” It is not known whether the Jordanian monarch knew that this was a paraphrase of the famous comment by Hillel.

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