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U.S. Considers Meeting With Palestinians

March 18, 1985|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Reagan Administration, signaling its willingness to step up the search for a Middle East peace, said today that it is "looking into the possibility" of talking to a joint Palestinian-Jordanian delegation if it would lead to direct peace talks with Israel.

"We are exploring how such a delegation can be put together, what the substantive basis of such a delegation should be," said Edward Djerejian, the deputy State Department spokesman.

But Djerejian said the delegation could not include members of the Palestine Liberation Organization, as suggested by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. However, other officials, who insisted on not being identified, said it might include Palestinians approved by PLO chief Yasser Arafat.

Hussein May Visit U.S.

Meanwhile, Jordanian Foreign Minister Taher Masri disclosed here that King Hussein may visit Washington soon to press demands of moderate Arab leaders for new involvement by the Reagan Administration in the search for a Middle East peace.

Masri told reporters the visit will depend partly on the outcome of talks he will hold with Administration officials this week. He meets with Secretary of State George P. Shultz on Wednesday.

Masri said a positive American response is needed to the Feb. 11 agreement between Hussein and Arafat. He said Arafat had agreed for the first time to seek a peaceful settlement with Israel over the Israeli-occupied West Bank and to do so in association with Jordan.

The Administration has said Arafat was not explicit enough in the agreement's recognition of Israel.

But Masri said, "Israel is occupying our territory, not only the West Bank, but also other territories. . . . It is not a matter of recognizing Israel or not recognizing Israel, but it is how much we can get of our land (in exchange for a decision) to recognize Israel."

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