AMMAN, Jordan — Senior Jordanian and PLO officials met Friday in the first round of talks on King Hussein's decision to sever formal ties with the Israeli-occupied West Bank, officials said.
Members of the Palestine Liberation Organization delegation emerged smiling after a 3 1/2-hour meeting with Prime Minister Zaid Rifai and other ranking Jordanian officials, but neither side would comment on the substance of the discussions. The meetings are expected to continue over the weekend.
The Jordanian monarch did not take part in the discussions and Yasser Arafat, the PLO chairman, did not come to Amman for the sessions.
After the meeting, Jordanian Information Minister Hani Khasawneh told reporters that the two sides discussed issues of common concern "in a very constructive and positive atmosphere."
Egypt's Middle East News Agency reported in a dispatch from Amman that the talks dealt with prospects of establishing a Palestinian government-in-exile.
The news agency said the officials discussed the effect on Jordan-PLO ties of Hussein's July 31 announcement that he was breaking off administrative and legal links with the West Bank of the Jordan River.
The agency said the two sides also touched upon related administrative and financial matters, including Jordanian passports for West Bank Palestinians and the use of Jordanian bridges to the West Bank by Palestinians.
Jordan scrapped its development plan for the Israeli-occupied territory, dissolved the lower house of Parliament where West Bank deputies held half the seats and stopped payment or subsidies to nearly 21,000 civil servants there.
To Go on to Cairo
The PLO delegation is expected to visit Cairo for talks with President Hosni Mubarak and senior Egyptian officials after the Amman discussions.