Israel 'a pen-stroke' from peace with Jordanians: Amman says bilateral peace agreement is 'premature'

ISRAEL'S Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres, said yesterday that Israel and Jordan were the stroke of a pen away from finalising a peace agreement, but Jordan was inhibited by its wish not to act independently of the other Arab parties.

'What is missing in Israeli- Jordanian relations is a pen and not agreement, because essentially we have reached agreement. We just have to take out the pen and sign,' he said.

'The Jordanians do not want to finish it because they do not want to be first and they fear they will remain alone,' Mr Peres said.

In Amman, the new Jordanian Prime Minister and head of the Jordanian negotiating team, Abdul Salam al-Majali, rejected Mr Peres' comments as premature. 'This is absolutely and completely untrue' he told reporters yesterday. 'This is twisting of words.'

The negotiations between Israel and the three Arab states neighbouring it (Egypt already has a peace treaty) have made far more progress than the thornier talks on the resolution of the Palestinian issue. When Jordan presented what it called 'an agenda' last autumn, this was recognised as a draft peace agreement. 'As a matter of fact we did agree on all of the items, practically all of the items,' Mr Peres said.

'Very minor details were left open, so with relatively slight effort we can conclude and sign. I don't know if the Jordanians are willing or ready to be first to do so,' he said.

Jordan's unwillingness to go ahead and sign a peace agreement with Israel is not dictated solely by lip-service to the idea of a united Arab front in the search for a comprehensive settlement. Jordan could easily reach agreement on matters of border demarcation, monitoring of borders, security arrangements, water sharing and diplomatic ties. But Jordan's future is inextricably bound up with the future Palestinian presence in what is now the Israeli-occupied West Bank, whatever final settlement is reached there. Over half the population of Jordan is of Palestinian origin, with Jordanian passports.

At the weekend, the Jordanian Prime Minister said he expected progress by the end of the year. 'There will be progress by the end of the year because we feel the co-sponsors (the US and Russia) are showing real seriousness about becoming partners. We also see a change in the Israeli attitude towards the peace process, a change in the offers from the other side.'

After a meeting in Amman, Arab foreign ministers yesterday called on the United States to take a stronger role in the next round of negotiations, due to begin in Washington on 15 June.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Extras
indybest
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Primary teaching roles in Ipswich

£21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education re...

Science teachers needed in Norwich

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Science teachers requ...

Semi Senior Accountant - Music

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful, Central London bas...

English teachers required in Lowestoft

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified English tea...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits