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Lugar Backs Arms for Jordan

June 6, 1985
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Sen. Richard Lugar (R. Ind.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has gone on record in favor of the Reagan Administration’s plans to sell advanced weaponry to Jordan without preconditions. Although in the minority on that issue, he is a powerful advocate of the Administration’s position in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Lugar has just returned from his first tour of the Middle East as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. His name is conspicuously absent from the list of 69 co-sponsors — 43 Democrats and 26 Republicans of a resolution introduced yesterday by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D. Mass.) and Sen. John Heinz (R. Pa.) opposing arms sales to Jordan until that country enters into direct peace negotiations with Israel.

The non-binding resolution was immediately criticized by the Administration as “a serious mistake which could jeopardize prospects for advancing the peace process in the Middle East.

Lugar said after a meeting with Republican senators yesterday that he thought the Kennedy-Heinz resolution “was not a good idea.” He said he was urging the GOP lawmakers not to support it.


Kennedy said yesterday that “the introduction of our resolution at this time, sponsored by more than two-thirds of the members of the Senate, is a clear signal to the Administration of our desire to give priority to the Camp David process and to oppose destabilizing arms sales in that volatile region.” He added that what is needed is “not more sophisticated arms for Jordan but more sophisticated diplomacy to bring Jordan into the Camp David peace process.”

But Secretary of State George Shultz, who left yesterday for a NATO meeting in Lisbon, told reporters on his plane that the resolution was “not a service to the peace process.” Shultz, before his departure, urged Senators not to act on the resolution, noting that King Hussein of Jordan “has taken some important initiatives that are positive and move in the direction of direct negotiations.”

He said, referring to the resolution, “to meet these moves by the Senate sticking its finger in his eye doesn’t seem to me to be a particularly good thing for the United States to do.”


Sen. Robert Dole (R. Kan.), the Majority Leader in the Senate, said that Sen. Heinz has said he did not plan to press for immediate passage of the resolution.

A spokesman for Lugar meanwhile denounced as “disinformation” media reports that the senator met with Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat during his Middle East tour. Lugar’s press secretary said he had met with “just about everybody” including Israeli Premier Shimon Peres, Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan. But he flatly denied meeting Arafat.

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