Trustful steps toward peace

THE world witnessed King Hussein, President Clinton, and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signing the Washington declaration in a televised ceremony.

To the people of the Middle East, the event was more than just a second signing of a declaration of principles in Washington: It was an affirmation of the [beginning] of a new era in the region, an era of peace and prosperity....

The choice of Washington as the venue for the signing of both the Palestine Liberation Organization-Israel accord and [this] agreement indicates a general acceptance by the parties of the Arab-Israel conflict that the US is a trustworthy peace broker....

It is to be hoped that Washington will continue to play the role of a fair and honest broker, and will ... make further attempts to break the deadlock on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks.

Peace in the region, after 46 years of hostility, will only come through the development of mutual trust and good will. The Washington declaration commits Jordan and Israel to vigorous negotiations aimed at agreeing to a peace treaty, but the declaration itself is a step on the road to peace, not a treaty in itself.

No doubt Jordan is still hoping for a comprehensive peace based on UN Resolutions 244 and 338 and the restoration of all occupied Arab lands, including Arab Jerusalem. The Israeli premier expressed the hope that [the] declaration would quickly lead to peace with Jordan. That will depend heavily on Israel and its willingness to restore to Arab countries their legitimate rights and their occupied lands.

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