Jordan's King Hussein says he is encouraged by a Palestinian peace proposal from Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, but right-wing leaders say the king is meddling in Israel's election campaign.

Hussein, in a broadcast on ABC-TV's "Nightline" program Thursday, called Peres' proposal for an international Middle East peace conference "a step forward."Hussein also said Jordan was "prepared, if the Palestinians seek it and ask us categorically, to go to an international conference in a joint (Palestinian-Jordanian) delegation."

The king also said that a victory by Prime Minister Yizhak Shamir of the right-wing Likud bloc would be "an absolute disaster" and raise tensions in the Middle East.

The remarks could boost the credibility of Peres' peace strategy, a major campaign issue in the Nov. 1 elections. Peres' party and Shamir's Likud are running neck-to-neck.

Peres' approach was undermined when Hussein announced July 31 he was severing ties with the West Bank.