JERUSALEM, MARCH 3 -- Secretary of State George P. Shultz said tonight that Palestinians should join with Jordan in participating in any new Middle East peace talks with Israel rather than seek their own delegation.
"Jordan with Palestinians is a good concept," he told reporters accompanying him here on his plane after he met with King Hussein of Jordan in London earlier today. It was the second time in two days Shultz has conferred with Hussein in his effort to gain Jordanian support for the U.S. peace plan.
Neither Shultz nor Hussein made any comment after their 90-minute talk. Shultz later said it had been "very worthwhile" but he gave no hint whether he was making any progress in persuading Hussein to back the peace plan.
Shultz said he still supports Hussein's old idea of forming a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation to participate in any new negotiations with Israel.
"There is a lot to be said for this approach. I think it's a good one," he said. "You have to construct something that people see is workable and legitimate," he said at another point.
Faced with the Palestine Liberation Organization's demand for a separate seat at the conference table, Hussein has let it be known he will not press for a joint delegation any longer unless the PLO wants it.
Shultz, who has been unable to meet with any Palestinians on his Middle East mission so far, reiterated today that the United States still stands ready to talk to the PLO but only after it recognizes Israel, accepts U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338 and renounces terrorism.
The two resolutions call for the withdrawal of Israel from occupied Arab territories and for Arab recognition of Israel and its right to live in peace.
"If they want to talk to the United States, there are certain conditions," Shultz said. "There they are. It's up to them."
At a press conference earlier marking the end of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Brussels, Shultz said he wanted "a more broad and better dialogue" with the Palestinians and that while he had not seen any during his trip, he hoped "to have that happen as soon as possible."
But Shultz said that even if the PLO did fulfill U.S. conditions, he still believed that the best way for the Palestinians to "have a say" at a peace conference was as part of a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation.
Hussein appears anxious not to say, or do, anything to discourage the new U.S. involvement in the long-stalled peace process but also appears reluctant to commit himself publicly to the Shultz plan before it is clear what concessions, if any, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir is willing to make.
Shultz will meet Friday morning with both Shamir and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. Afterward, he is scheduled to make brief stops in Damascus and Cairo before leaving for Washington late Friday night.