CAIRO — President Hosni Mubarak met in Amman on Thursday with Jordan's King Hussein and strongly indicated that both Egypt and Jordan are anxious to revive the stalled efforts for peace in the Middle East.
"We need the peace process now more than ever before," Mubarak told reporters upon his return to Cairo after the one-day trip to the Jordanian capital. "It is very important to move forward in the peace process."
It was the first meeting between the two moderate Arab leaders since the Oct. 7 hijacking of the Italian ship Achille Lauro by four Palestinians and the Oct. 1 Israeli air raid on the Palestine Liberation Organization headquarters in Tunisia.
Anxious for Breakthrough
Both dealt blows to efforts to revive the peace process, but Mubarak's statements indicated that Egypt and Jordan are anxious for a breakthrough.
Mubarak said there are some positive aspects to the Israeli initiative announced this week at the United Nations by Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres.
"We are studying it. There are some good points, but until we study it completely, I cannot tell you now," he said.
Hussein said in a New York Times interview published Thursday that he welcomes the "spirit" of the peace proposal made by Peres in his U.N. speech.
Mubarak said his talks with Hussein covered the "peace process, the monarch's visit to the United States and all the events until now and the prospects of the peace process."
In Amman, a Jordanian spokesman said the discussions covered "developments in the Middle East and drew an evaluation of the recent events that took place in the last few months and their impact on the political initiative for the benefit of the Palestinian problem."
'Growing Bilateral Ties'
"Both leaders expressed satisfaction with the growing bilateral ties," the spokesman said.
Asked about the current Arab effort to improve relations between Jordan and radical Syria, Mubarak said, "We support any good relations with Syria . . . as far as this would lead to a comprehensive settlement."
But, Mubarak added, "the Palestinian question is the core of the Middle East problem, and we should not forget that at all."
The meeting between Mubarak and Hussein was the ninth since Jordan restored diplomatic relations with Egypt 13 months ago and began a policy of close cooperation with Cairo. Jordan was one of 17 Arab countries that broke off relations with Egypt to protest its 1979 peace treaty with Israel.
Jordan and the PLO reached an agreement last February to seek a peace settlement with Israel on the basis of trading peaceful relations for occupied Arab lands. Israel, however, has insisted the PLO be excluded from participation in peace talks.