Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres hopes the current Middle East visit of US special envoy Richard Murphy will involve Jordan in peace moves to be discussed at Mr. Peres's planned summit next week with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Mr. Murphy, who arrived in Jordan yesterday from Israel, stated before leaving Jerusalem that his visit was partially aimed at preparing for Peres's visit to Washington later this month, and for visits by the Jordanian and Egyptian foreign ministers.
However, Murphy is also understood to be sounding out Israel, Egypt, and Jordan for common positions which can serve as an agreed basis for further moves in the Middle East peace process.
Jordan's King Hussein has indicated that, before holding peace talks, he wants assurances of international support.
Murphy's report to Washington is expected to help determine whether US Secretary of State George Shultz will come to the region to participate in the Peres-Mubarak summit. Peres has reportedly been urging a visit by Shultz in order to boost the significance of the summit and make it a catalyst for further peace moves.
According to reports reaching Jerusalem, US officials have not rejected Peres's overtures, but are wary of committing themselves to a visit by Shultz without indications that tangible results could be achieved.
Peres is reported to have told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of Israel's Knesset (parliament) Monday about two ideas that Murphy may discuss in Amman and Cairo.
One is a proposal to draft a joint document acceptable to Israel, Egypt, and Jordan, which would contain agreed-upon guidelines for the next stages in the peace process.
The second is convening a preparatory meeting to plan an international conference which would serve as a forum for Arab-Israeli peace talks.
In his meeting with Murphy late Monday night, Peres reportly discussed Palestinian representation at such peace talks, and the nature of the international peace conference.
Peres's revelation of the latest proposals seem to point to a concerted effort to make diplomatic progress before he switches jobs in October with Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir. A further indication of this is his dispatch of minister-without-portfolio Ezer Weizman to West Germany and Italy -- apparently to secure European assistance in promoting the peace process.