INTRODUCTION: Jordan's King Hussein arrived in Egypt on Thursday (13 January) for talks with President Anwar Sadat at his winter resort in Aswan.
INTRODUCTION: Jordan's King Hussein arrived in Egypt on Thursday (13 January) for talks with President Anwar Sadat at his winter resort in Aswan. Their discussions will centre around the current Middle East peace settlement moves.
SYNOPSIS: King Hussein's visit comes as momentum gathers for the reconvening of the 1973 Geneva conference on the Middle East. Middle East leaders are trying to reconvene it on the basis of discussing the creation of an independent Palestine on the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Relations between Jordan and the Palestine Liberation Organisation will be a major point for discussion for the PLO is resisting Egyptian proposals that an independent Palestine would be linked with Jordan.
Jordan and the PLO have been in dispute since 1970, when King Hussein threw in the weight of his armed forces to crush the Palestinian commandos in his Kingdom. Reconciliation between Jordan and the PLO would be necessary to achieve co-ordination of the Arabs' attitude in preparation for the Geneva conference.
Observers believe the Aswan talks could pave the way for a summit of Egypt, Syria, Jordan and the PLO to unify policy. Egypt and Syria patched up their differences last October after a year of strained relations. Jordan is Syria's closest ally. After the PLO was recognised as the sole representative of the Palestinian people at the 1974 Rabat Arab Summit, Jordan declared itself absolved of any commitment as a frontline state. The Aswan talks could reveal whether the King has softened his attitude.
After early talks in the four-day round of meetings, the two leaders were reported to have stressed that 1977 must be the year devoted to settling the Middle East crisis. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ismail Fahmi said the leaders were agreed on the need for Israel's withdrawal from occupied territories, and the creation of a separate Palestinian state in the Holy Land. They were also agreed on Egyptian-Jordanian co-ordination with other Arab states confronting Israel.