King Hussein of Jordan was reported ready to accept two conditions laid down by Syria yesterday for easing a military confrontation between the two neighboring Arab states, apparently clearing the way for peaceful resolution of the crisis.
A spokesman for the Jordanian Royal Palace told Reuter news agency that the king has not replied to the Syrian demands but that he is "open to all reasonable suggestions for resolving this pointless dispute."
The Syrian conditions, relayed to Hussein by a Saudi mediator, included requests for a pledge that Jordan continue supporting the Palestine Liberation Organization as the sole represenative of the Palestinian people and a written assurance that it would not aid the Moslem Brotherhood in its campaign against the government of President Hafez Assad in Damascus.
Jordanian officials were reported as saying that Syria had already begun withdrawing some of the 30,000 troops amassed along the Jordanian border late last week in a show of force that had raised fears of another Middle East war. There was no immediate confirmation in Damascus or Washington. But a State Department spokesman said the United States would welcome any steps leading to an easing of tensions between the two countries.
Saudi Arabia's second deputy prime minister and National Guard commander, Prince Abdullah, was reported to have played the key mediating role, conferring for several hours yesterday with Hussein following several lengthy meetings with Assad in Damacus Sunday and Monday. The Saudis have considerable leverage because of their large financial contributions to both governments.
In Amman, the Syrian terms were being viewed as largely a face-saving gesture demanded by the Syrian president. Jordanian officials said Hussein had already publicly disavowed the Moslem Brotherhood's activities and also never had any intention of withdrawing his recognition of the PLO as the sole legitimate voice of the Palestinians.
The easing of the crisis came amid indications that the Soviet Union was also growing uneasy about Syrian military maneuvers that risked dragging the Soviets into another Middle East dispute at a time when they are already preoccupied with a war in Afghanistan and with events in Poland.
The first vice president of the Soviet Presidium, Vasily V. Kuznetsov, in Damascus on the pretext of ratifying the recently concluded Soviet-Syrian Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation, used the occasion to urge that all conflicts in the region be settled in "peaceful ways."
Whiling hailing the new step in Soviet-Syrian relations, Kuznetsov also stressed that the 20-year treaty "has a special importance as far as liquidating the dangerous element of tension in the Middle East." He added that the treaty did not pose a "ghost of a treat" to the region and that there were no secret clauses or objectives that have not been made public.
Soviet analysts here said it was unusual for Moscow to send such a high-ranking official simply to ratify a treaty that Assad and Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev had already signed during the Syrian leader's visit to Moscow in October. They said it was likely he had gone to caution Assad about any precipitous action against Jordan.
In response to the Syrian military border buildup, Jordan had amassed about 25,000 troops and hundreds of tanks to counter the threat, and Hussein had made it clear he was ready to do battle if any Syrian troops crossed into his country.
The easing of the crisis through Saudi mediation and a veiled Soviet warning to the Syrians came as the pro-Syrian Al Sharq newspaper in Beirut reported that Assad had signaled his wilingness to back off provided Hussein agreed not to seek a separate Arab-Israeli settlement in cooperation with the United States.
Arab analysts here said that this may have been the major reason for the seemingly bizarre Syrian behavior in provoking the confrontation in the first place, coming as it did in the wake of the Arab summit in the Jordanian capital of Amman.
Reports at the time said the summit, held over the strenuous objections of Syria, gave Hussein an informal mandate to explore with the new Reagan administration and Western European capital a possible new Middle East initiative to replace the stalled Camp David peace process.
Such a move would have not only projected Hussein into a new leadership role in the Arab world, which Assad also covets, but also probably would have left Syria out in the diplomat cold once again.
The official Soviet news agency Tass yesterday signaled Moscow's shared concern with Syria over such a development that would also effecitively exclude the Soviets yet again from the Middle East diplomatic process.
In a dispatch from Washington, Tass charged the United States was using the Syrian-Jordanian crisis to impress Jordan into the American-sponsored Camp David peace accord between Israel and Egypt and forge a "fictitious settlement" of the Palestinian issue.
It also decried reports that the administration was considering sending Jordan ammunition and spare parts to bolster its defenses against Syria, saying this would only serve to worsen tensions in an already explosive region. s