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Jordan and Israel to Announce Agenda for Diplomatic Talks

By Nora Boustany
The Washington Post
AMMAN, Jordan

Jordan and Israel are to announce agreement in Washington Tuesday on an agenda that sets the foundations for a treaty and diplomatic relations, Jordanian officials said Monday.

Prime Minister Abdel Salam Majali and Crown Prince Hassan both made public plans by Jordanian and Israeli negotiators to commit themselves to the detailed agenda in Washington, one day after Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization signed a milestone accord for limited Palestinian self-rule in the Israeli occupied territories.

The finalized draft agenda between Jordan and Israel aims at the "achievement of just, lasting and comprehensive peace between the Arab states, the Palestinians and Israel," according to Jordanian officials here. It will address issues such as security, trade, water resources and boundary demarcation, as well as the future status of 1.5 million Palestinian refugees now settled in Jordan.

Hassan said the agenda between Jordan and Israel had been ready for months but was held back until the impasse was broken with the Palestinians.

King Hussein, who had announced over the weekend in London that the Jordanian-Israeli document was ready for signing, returned Monday to Amman, the Jordanian capital. Of all Arab nations that have been at war with Israel, Jordan shares the longest common border, 400 miles, with the Jewish state.

Monday's PLO-Israeli accord highlighted Jordan's longstanding difficulties with its increasing Palestinian population, which constitutes a majority in Jordan. Although both a domestic and foreign policy dilemma for Amman, the Palestinian factor has always shaped Jordan's regional role as a moderating force and link between Palestinians, the Western world and Israel. At stake now is Jordan's future sovereignty and viability, as the new Palestinian entity in formation in Jericho and Gaza seeks a federation with this country later in the peace process.