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Reagan's Plan for Jordan Arms Goes to Congress; Battle Likely

October 22, 1985|United Press International

WASHINGTON — President Reagan, facing a bruising battle on Capitol Hill, formally notified Congress on Monday of the Administration's intent to sell Jordan up to $1.9 billion worth of advanced weapons.

The Administration justified the proposed sale on grounds that Jordan cannot not be expected to enforce any peace agreement with Israel "without the political and military support of the United States."

The Administration went ahead with the biggest weapons deal ever offered to Jordan despite warnings from Congress that the package faces near-certain defeat. Congress has 30 days in which to disapprove the sale.

"The proposed sale is in the best interests of both the United States and Jordan because it meets Jordan's legitimate security requirements and furthers our mutual objectives of fostering a just and lasting peace in the region," the Administration said in a statement sent to Congress by the Pentagon.

It noted that Jordan's King Hussein has expressed a willingness to enter Middle East peace negotiations.

"Without the political and military support of the United States, it would prove difficult for a small and vulnerable state such as Jordan to conclude and help enforce a binding peace agreement," the statement said.

White House spokesman Larry Speakes underscored Reagan's argument that Hussein deserves the U.S. arms as an inducement to remain involved in efforts to forge direct negotiations with Israel.

"King Hussein has made some courageous statements regarding direct talks and his involvement in the peace process," Speakes said. "Whether there would be any more stipulations needed on the part of Congress, we just have to work with them."

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