Arafat backs state link to Jordan
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said he is ready to accept a federation between a future Palestinian state and Jordan, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) news agency Wafa reported Wednesday.
It quoted Mr. Arafat as saying: ''We are ready to establish a confederation between Palestine and Jordan following the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.''
He added: ''King Hussein (of Jordan), on the other hand, has affirmed that the PLO is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and that he will not speak on behalf of the Palestinians.
The Arafat statement was one of the clearest summaries yet given of how the PLO views the results of a crucial series of Jordanian-Palestinian talks earlier this month.
Jordanian sources said at the time that King Hussein was urging Mr. Arafat to accept the idea of a Palestinian ''entity'' federated with Jordan, in line with a Middle East peace initiative launched by President Reagan in September. There were also suggestions that the King was looking for permission to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinians with the United States.
The talks ended with PLO sources saying that Mr. Arafat had insisted on the aim of establishing a full-fledged Palestinian state and had rejected the idea of Jordan's speaking for the Palestinians. But signs quickly emerged, now explicitly confirmed by Arafat, that the PLO had accepted the idea of a federation with Jordan.
The federation with Jordan is the most dramatic new element in the political strategy the PLO has been evolving since it was forced by weeks of Israeli siege to evacuate its guerrilla forces from west Beirut in August.