President Clinton and visiting King Hussein of Jordan on Thursday pledged new action, probably starting with an emergency meeting in the Middle East, to prevent a wave of terrorist bombings in Israel from ruining the fragile peace process.
A White House official said that some details remained to be completed but that Clinton and Middle Eastern leaders are pointing toward a meeting next week in the region, possibly at Taba, an Egyptian resort on the Gulf of Aqaba. Clinton may make an overnight visit to Israel after the summit, officials said.
Officials also said that the purpose of the meeting would be to enlist Arab governments in the fight against the Islamic militants who have claimed responsibility for four recent deadly suicide bombings in Israel. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat suggested such a meeting Wednesday.
"We haven't ruled out anything," Clinton said. ". . . We'll have some decisions in the next couple of days about where we go from here."
State-owned Israel Radio reported that the meeting already is set, but the White House official said a final decision had not been made. An announcement is expected today.
Clinton and Hussein, standing next to each other before their 40-minute White House meeting, agreed that the world community must take firm action to thwart the terrorist campaign of the militant group Hamas.
"These people are trying to scuttle the peace process and destroy all that has been achieved," Hussein said. "And they must never succeed, and we will do whatever we can towards that end."
Hussein was in the United States for a medical checkup, but after the terrorist attacks in neighboring Israel, the Clinton administration gave the visit a high-profile treatment to underline U.S. support for Jordan. Officials praised Hussein for his condemnation of the terrorist attacks and for supporting U.S.-led efforts to isolate Iraq.
In Amman, Jordan announced that it has seized aircraft spare parts and other supplies headed for Iraq in violation of U.N. sanctions, the Associated Press reported. It was the third time in three months that Jordan has reported seizing contraband destined for Iraq.