Jordan, Israel Try to Mend Relations: King, Netanyahu to Meet in London

By Sieff, Martin | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 18, 1997 | Go to article overview

Jordan, Israel Try to Mend Relations: King, Netanyahu to Meet in London


Sieff, Martin, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to meet Jordan's King Hussein in London today in an apparent attempt to repair their relations after a bungled Israeli assassination operation in Jordan.

An Israeli official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Mr. Netanyahu changed his plans at the last minute to be able to see the king on his way home from meetings in Indianapolis and Los Angeles. Mr. Netanyahu's original schedule had him staying in Los Angeles until midday today.

"The meeting is being held at the king's initiative," the Israeli official said in Washington. "The main item on the agenda will be the [growing crisis with] Iraq. The king is very concerned about this."

Jordan borders Israel to the west and Iraq to the northeast. King Hussein, while a strong advocate of the Israeli-Arab peace process, presides over an economically depressed nation in which there is widespread popular support for Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

The London meeting will be the first between Mr. Netanyahu and the Jordanian monarch since the unsuccessful attempt by agents of the Israeli Mossad secret service to assassinate Khalid Mashaal, a top leader of the Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, in Jordan in September.

Israeli and Arab sources said the key role in restoring Israel's strained relations with Jordan was played by National Infrastructure Minister Ariel Sharon, Israel's former defense minister. He visited Jordan Nov. 9 and met with Crown Prince Hassan and Foreign Minister Fayiz al-Tarawinah.

Mr. …

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