Secretary of State George P. Shultz, seemingly struggling to keep up his own spirits, urged Jordan’s King Hussein on Sunday to try again to select Palestinian representatives that Israel would accept as participants in renewed Mideast peace talks.
In a bone-wearying day that began at 7 a.m. in the Jerusalem residence of Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres and ended close to midnight in Hussein’s vacation palace on the shores of the Gulf of Aqaba, Shultz talked about the sticky Palestinian issue without finding a solution.
On the way from Israel to Jordan, Shultz stopped in Cairo for a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The secretary of state said their discussion covered developments in Lebanon, Egypt’s cool relations with Israel and the larger Middle East peace process.
A senior U.S. official said Shultz met for about two hours with Jordan’s Hussein, in addition to attending a series of social events, including an hourlong ride on the royal yacht with the king and Queen Noor.
“We didn’t come expecting a breakthrough. . . ,” the official said. “There just are no quick solutions.”
Added a senior Jordanian official, “I think the expectations are very low.”
Shultz is scheduled to meet again with Hussein this morning. He then will head for Vienna to shift his focus from the Middle East to superpower relations and prepare for a Tuesday meeting with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko.
In a statement before leaving Cairo, Shultz said all sides in the Mideast realize how difficult it is to “get peace in this part of the world.” He called, however, for “a determination to work at the problems and to keep the level of frustration down and the level of effort up.”
Earlier in the day, Shultz told reporters aboard his Air Force jet that Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians all should get in the mood for a long peacemaking process in which results will not come easily.
“If all the people involved get into the frame of mind that here is a hard problem, but it is also important to get a solution, and if you create that kind of an atmosphere,” he said, “you get a solution (eventually), even though you don’t quite know at the beginning what the solution is.”
It was the sort of stiff upper lip statement that appeared intended to keep all sides--including the United States--from giving up.
Shultz had hoped to find at least the germ of a compromise to the Palestinian representation issue during this trip, but neither side appeared ready to make any concessions.
Israel rejected outright a proposal to include members of the Palestine National Council--the so-called parliament-in-exile of the Palestine Liberation Organization--as representatives to renewed peace talks. The Reagan Administration differentiates between the council and the PLO and had discussed the possibility of including non-PLO members of the council in the negotiations. Israel, however, recognizes no difference between them.
Shultz now wants Hussein to try again to select people who would be credible representatives of the Palestinians but who have no ties to the PLO and have never called for Israel’s destruction.
Shultz said it is vital “to find people who are truly recognized as able to represent Palestinians who also have a background that will be acceptable in a negotiating process, given all of the history of absolute opposition to Israel” by most recognized Palestinian leaders.
Peres told Shultz on Sunday that Israel would sit down with any Palestinians who have never endorsed the Palestinian covenant, which calls for Israel’s ultimate destruction, said Uri Savi, an Israeli government spokesman.
(PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, in Peking as head of a visiting Jordanian-Palestinian delegation, on Sunday rejected the U.S. offer to hold talks with a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation that excludes PLO members, United Press International reported. “They are still trying to hide the sun with their finger, neglecting the realities and facts in this area,” he was quoted as saying.)
King Hussein and Arafat agreed last February to pursue a joint strategy to try to end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank of the Jordan River and the Gaza Strip, home to 1.3 million Palestinians. The plan calls for the appointment of a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation for talks with the United States and--perhaps--later with Israel.
Both Israel and Washington accepted the principle of a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation, although both said it should negotiate directly with Israel. The process broke down over failure to name Palestinian delegates acceptable to all parties.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Taher Masri said in an interview with a newspaper in Kuwait that the PLO has nominated members for the delegation and that the list has been passed to the United States. American officials said they had not received a formal list, although some names had been mentioned as examples of the type of people who might serve.
Israeli officials made it clear to Shultz, however, that none of the names were acceptable to Jerusalem.
Earlier this month, there were rumors that Shultz’s top Mideast specialist, Assistant Secretary of State Richard W. Murphy, might remain in the area to continue negotiations if Shultz made any progress. U.S. sources, however, said Murphy plans to go home after a brief stop in Tel Aviv to inform the Israelis on the outcome of Shultz’s talks in Cairo and Aqaba.