‘Ice Broken’ After Hussein, Assad End 1st Talks in 6 Years

Associated Press

President Hafez Assad and Jordan’s King Hussein concluded a two-day “ice-breaking” summit today, their first meeting in six years, but issued no statements on the results.

The two leaders, who nearly went to war in 1980, hugged and kissed each other at Damascus International Airport before the king returned to Amman.

Assad, who is the Soviet Union’s main ally in the Middle East, and the Western-oriented Hussein held two private meetings and two joint meetings with their senior advisers.

Neither leader made a statement at the conclusion of the sessions, and their governments did not issue communiques.


But one source in the Jordanian delegation said: “At least the ice has been broken, and now there is a better chance of more coordination.”

‘The King Was Happy’

In Amman, Information Minister Mohammed Khatib said on arrival from Damascus, “The king was very, very happy.”

Official Syrian sources said only that the talks concerned developments in the Arab world and efforts to close Arab ranks.


Jordanian sources said the two leaders evaluated their stands on key Middle East issues, particularly the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Assad opposes direct negotiations with Israel, but Hussein and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat have been seeking a negotiated settlement with Israel.

One Jordanian source said: “The differences we had were quite fundamental and cannot be resolved in just one visit.”