Wednesday, 10 February 1999

Syrian leader tries to build up Jordan ties

USA TODAY, Feb 10, 1999

Matthew Kalman

JERUSALEM -- Syrian President Hafez Assad's unexpected arrival in Amman for talks with King Abdullah and President Clinton have thrust him once more to the forefront of Arab diplomacy.

Assad's uncharacteristic decision to travel to King Hussein's funeral has prompted speculation that he hopes to divert the foreign policy of the newly named king away from peace with Israel.

Tuesday, Syria's government-controlled Tishrin newspaper hinted at such pressure, denouncing "Israel's repeated bids to fish in troubled waters in order to destroy Arab ties on the basis of divide and rule . . . nothing threatens Jordan but Israel and its greedy expansionism."


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