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Arafat says Soviets support PLO ties with Jordan

By KIRSTEN O. LUNDBERG

MOSCOW -- Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasser Arafat said Thursday that Soviet leader Yuri Andropov had pledged his support for a possible Palestinian-Jordanian confederation.

Arafat contrasted Andropov's support with the actions of the United States, whic the guerrilla leader said does not want a Middle East settlement.

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Criticizing the current Lebanese-Israeli negotiations, Arafat said they were 'worse even than the Camp David deal. With the full blessing of the United States, Tel Aviv imposed results on the negotiations even before they started.'

Arafat, commenting on his meeting Wednesday with Andropov, said he had encountered 'full understanding' of his three-day talks with Jordan's King Hussein before flying to Moscow.

The question arose because the Kremlin does not like the idea of improved relations between Jordan and the PLO, as it leaves both its client Syria and Moscow out of the negotiations, diplomats said.

But Arafat said the Soviet leadership 'has informed me that it will accept anything that the Palestinian people will agree with... I received full understanding from the Soviet side.'

Arafat also raised the possibility of eventually confederating an independent Palestinian state and Jordan, perhaps after a referendum of both peoples. He said the Soviets sympathized with the proposal.

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A Western analyst said the Soviet approval could be due to skepticism about a Jordanian-PLO agreement.

'The Soviets could agree because first, they can't do otherwise, and second, they don't think its going to happen,' he said.

Middle East experts said Arafat apparently sought Soviet support for its overture to Jordan to use at a meeting of the Palestine National Council, the PLO's 'parliament-in-exile,' scheduled for February.

Other observers said the Soviets were willing to be friendly to Arafat, but had also made it clear they did not want the PLO chief to compromise in a way that would offer the United States advantages in the area.

A joint communique referring to President Reagan's Sept. 1 Middle East peace plan, said the Soviet Union and the PLO would 'resolutely oppose attempts to replace an all-embracing, just settlement with separate deals of the Camp David type, suiting the aggressor and on its terms.'

Reagan's plan ruled out an independent Palestinian state but opposed the Israeli policy of settlement in the West Bank and Gaza. It called for Palestinian self-government of those areas in association with Jordan. Israel has rejected the Reagan plan.

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