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U.S.-Jordan-Palestinian Talks Could Be Harmful, Israel Says

From Reuters

Israel on Sunday said that U.S. plans to hold talks with a Jordanian-Palestinian team could harm prospects for direct Mideast peace negotiations.

An Israeli Cabinet statement said that Prime Minister Shimon Peres has written to Secretary of State George P. Shultz opposing Washington’s idea of conducting any such preliminary talks.

Sharp differences have emerged between Israel and the United States since a recent visit to Washington by Jordan’s King Hussein. Shultz wrote to Israel that he sensed a significant development in the king’s approach to Mideast peace and that the United States would meet a Jordanian-Palestinian team within weeks.

According to Sunday’s Cabinet statement, Peres said in his reply to Shultz that “early U.S. negotiations with a Jordanian-Palestinian team are likely to block direct negotiations between Israel and a Jordanian-Palestinian delegation.”

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Peres told his ministers he had responded positively to Shultz’s assurances that the United States would not negotiate directly with the Palestine Liberation Organization until the group recognizes Israel’s right to exist.

Peres has said he fears the PLO might gain U.S. recognition “through the back door” in preliminary talks between Washington and a joint team.


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