President Hafez Assad will begin a state visit to Moscow Monday to gain Soviet backing for the Arab "peace offensive" in the Middle East, Damascus radio said today.
The trip, two weeks after Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's talks with President Carter in Washington and a month before Assad is scheduled to meet Carter in Europe, appeared to be an important part of the Arabs' diplomatic drive to reconveve the Geneva peace conference on the Middle East.
The Soviet Union and the United States are cochairmen of the U.N. sponsored conference, which met only once, in 1973. Egypt and Syria are pressing for overall peace talks with Israel to begin this year, with the Palestine Liberation Organization participating.Both the United States and Israel have said there is no place for the PLO at the talks.
In other developments:
King Hussein of Jordaan left Amman for a week-long visit to London for talks with British officials on the Middle East. His precedes a planned trip to Washington for talks With President Carter.
Egyptian Vice President Husni Mubaran said that President carter was now fully convinced of the need to create a Palestinian state and of the Palestinians' right to self-determination.