Wednesday, February 18, 1998

In Tel Aviv, Israel, Jordan hold talks on water, Jordan Valley development. (RJ 2/19 in WNC 2/24; Globes [Internet] 2/22 in WNC 2/26; JP 2/28)

Palestine-Israel Steering and Monitoring Comm. (PISMC) cochairs meet at U.S. Amb. to Israel Edward Walker's home. (IGPO 2/18; WJW 2/26; JP 2/28)

Syrian VP `Abd al-Halim Khaddam, FM Faruq al-Shara` leave Cairo after 2 days of talks on peace process, Iraq crisis with Pres. Mubarak, FM `Amr Musa. (MENA, SATN 2/18 in WNC 2/21)

U.S. Secy. of State Madeleine Albright, Defense Secy. William Cohen, National Security Adviser (NSA) Sandy Berger hold 90-min. "town meeting" at Ohio State University on potential strike on Iraq, which is broadcast globally on CNN. Audience heckles official and asks pointed questions on U.S. policy, some saying no military action should be taken, others questioning why goals do not include ousting Iraqi Pres. Saddam Hussein. After mtg., Berger warns Hussein that he should not misinterpret the audience reactions because "Ultimately there's only one man who decides, and he decides not based on the polls . . . but on our national interest." (CSM 2/18; NYT, WP, WT 2/19; WT 2/20; al-Ahram 2/21 in WNC 2/26)

PA Information Min. orders all 34 television, radio stations to obtain licenses fr. the Information Min. as well as Interior Min.; closes 9 West Bank stations that do not have such licenses. (LAW 2/19; NYT, PR 2/20; MEI, PR 2/27) (see 2/16)

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum forces its director, Walter Reich, to resign. Mishandling of Arafat invitation to visit the museum (see 1/23) is cited as precipitating factor ending troubled tenure. (NYT 2/19)