Newsweek: Leaders of Jordan, Syria and Iraq Met in Secret Summit
NEW YORK (AP) _ Jordan’s King Hussein hosted a secret summit meeting between Syrian President Hafez Assad and Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein early last week in what another world leader views as a restarting of the peace process, according to a published report.
Ezer Weizman, former Israeli defense minister, confirmed the meeting in an interview in the May 11 issue of Newsweek.
″Potentially, these talks could fill in the blanks in the Middle East peace puzzle,″ said Weizman, now a minister without portfolio. ″We’re now close to a breakthrough which should restart the peace process.″
The Syrian, Iraqi and Jordanian leaders, who met at a desert outpost outside Amman, Jordan, discussed their concerns about the spread of ″Khomeinist fundamentalism to the whole Arab world,″ said Weizman.
Other topics that emerged included Iraq’s continuing war with Iran, serious troubles in the Syrian economy and maneuvers toward an international Middle East peace conference that would allow Israel to discuss peace with Jordan, Weizman said.
Weizman said he saw Iraq ″as a potential partner for peaceful coexistence with Isreal.″
Weizman, Israel’s foremost advocate of accommodation with the Arabs, has offered to meet with Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat, if Arafat would accept Israel’s right to exist and give up terrorism.
″The PLO, despite its nastiness and terrorism is part of the Palestinian problem,″ Weizman said. ″That’s why I said I was willing to meet with Arafat.″
Arafat said he would meet Weizman at the United Nations, but made no acknowledgement of the other conditions of the meeting, Newsweek said.
Israel could not bring specific proposals to a negotiating table, Weizman said.
″At this point we can only talk about principles,″ he said. But once principles were agreed upon, he said, ″we can talk about territorial compromise, functional division of power, or a Jordanian Palestinian confederation.″