AMMAN, Jordan — The Jordanian government indicated Tuesday that it thinks the Egyptian-Israeli summit conference last week in Alexandria accomplished little to further the Middle East peace process.
Prime Minister Zaid Rifai said Jordan "took notice of the fact" that there was agreement in principle at Alexandria to have an international conference on the Middle East, but he complained that the idea is too ambiguous.
"What happened at Alexandria would be a very positive step if the Israeli government accepted an international conference with the participation of all the parties concerned and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and with no preconditions," Rifai said.
'All Parties Concerned'
The phrase "all parties concerned," as used by the Arabs, means Jordan, Egypt, Syria and the Palestine Liberation Organization. The five permanent Security Council members are the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, France and China.
The United States has been trying to persuade Jordan to take part in negotiations with Israel that meet Israel's insistence on direct talks to settle the issue of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank of the Jordan River.
Speaking at a press lunch, Rifai said Egypt and Israel created a "big puzzler" by agreeing to establish a committee to prepare for an international peace conference without deciding who will take part.
He said Jordan would "under no circumstances" consider joining such a preparatory committee if Egypt and Israel were the only other members.
Insists on PLO Role
One of the differences cited by Rifai between the positions taken by Jordan and Israel is the fact that Jordan insists on PLO participation in such a conference. Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres emphasized that the PLO could never take part.
"We don't believe any settlement of the Palestine question is possible without the participation of the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people," Rifai said.
The remark indicated that Jordan has not relaxed its demand for PLO participation despite a decision by Jordan's King Hussein in February to suspend political coordination with the PLO after the guerrilla group refused to accept U.N. resolutions that recognize Israel's right to exist.
Another difference in positions that Rifai cited is Israel's insistence that the Soviet Union must resume diplomatic relations with Israel before being allowed to take part in a conference.
U.S. Called One-Sided
Rifai said the Soviet role is essential, and he said that Israel cannot dictate terms to a superpower. The United States, he went on, is being one-sided for insisting on Soviet recognition of Israel while refusing itself to recognize the PLO.
"One makes negotiations and peace with one's enemies, not with one's chosen friends," he said.
Despite Rifai's complaints, official reaction here has been much more muted than in Syria or in some of the Persian Gulf countries.
Syrian government newspapers branded the Alexandria meeting "treason and capitulation" by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Bank Branch Reopens
Rifai also disclosed Tuesday that Israel has given approval for the reopening of the first Jordanian bank branch on the West Bank since Israel occupied the area in 1967. The branch of the Cairo-Amman Bank will be allowed to reopen in the city of Nablus as a "test" before other banks are allowed to follow suit.
Rifai praised the United States for acting as a middleman in the negotiations for the reopening of the bank, which will apparently operate under Jordanian law despite Israeli authority elsewhere.