US Department of State Dispatch Supplement VOL. 3, NO 2

Title:

The Middle East Peace Process.

PA Bush Baker Bohlen Reilly Djerejian Source: Office of Public Communication, Bureau of Public Affairs Date: Feb, 15 19922/15/92 Description: A collection Category: Speeches, Testimony, Statements Category: Fact Sheets Category: Reports Region: MidEast/North Africa Country: Iraq, Israel, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria Subject: Mideast Peace Process, Democratization, Regional/Civil Unrest, Human Rights, International Organizations, Immigration, Military Affairs, Refugees, Cultural Exchange, Security Assistance and Sales, Trade/Economics [Text] [NOTE; CHARTS AND TABLES ARE NOT INCLUDED]

President Bush: The World After the Persian Gulf War

[Address before a joint session of Congress, Washington, DC, March 6, 1991] [TEXT] Mr. President, and Mr. Speaker, thank you, sir, for those very generous words spoken from the heart about the wonderful performance of our military. Members of Congress, 5 short weeks ago, I came to this House to speak to you about the State of the Union. We met then in time of war. Tonight, we meet in a world blessed by the promise of peace. From the moment Operation Desert Storm commenced on January 16 until the time the guns fell silent at midnight 1 week ago, this nation has watched its sons and daughters with pride--watched over them with prayer. As Commander in Chief, I can report to you our armed forces fought with honor and valor. And as President, I can report to the nation aggression is defeated. The war is over. This is a victory for every country in the coalition; for the United Nations; a victory for unprecedented international cooperation and diplomacy--so well led by our Secretary of State James Baker. It is a victory for the rule of law and for what is right. Desert Storm's success belongs to the team that so ably leads our armed forces: our Secretary of Defense and our Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Dick Cheney and Colin Powell. And while you're standing, this military victory also belongs to the one the British call the "Man of the Match"--the tower of calm at the eye of Desert Storm, General Norman Schwarzkopf. And let us-- recognizing this was a coalition effort--let us not forget Saudi General Khalid, Britain's General de la Billiere, or General Roquejoffre of France, and all the others whose leadership played such a vital role. And most importantly, most importantly of all, all those who served in the field. I thank the members of this Congress; support here for our troops in battle was overwhelming. And above all, I thank those whose unfailing love and support sustained our courageous men and women. I thank the American people. Tonight, I come to this House to speak about the world--the world after war. The recent challenge could not have been clearer. Saddam Hussein was the villain; Kuwait the victim. To the aid of this small country came the nations from North America and Europe, from Asia and South America, from Africa and the Arab world--all united against aggression. Our uncommon coalition must now work in common purpose: to forge a future that should never again be held hostage to the darker side of human nature. Tonight in Iraq, Saddam walks amidst ruin. His war machine is crushed. His ability to threaten mass destruction is itself destroyed. His people have been lied to, denied the truth. And when his defeated legions come home, all Iraqis will see and feel the havoc he has wrought. And this I promise you: For all that Saddam has done to his own people, to the Kuwaitis, and to the entire world, Saddam and those around him are accountable. All of us grieve for the victims of war, for the people of Kuwait, and the suffering that scars the soul of that proud nation. We grieve for all our fallen soldiers and their families, for all the innocents caught up in this conflict. And, yes, we grieve for the people of Iraq, a people who have never been our enemy. My hope is that one day we will once again welcome them as friends into the community of nations.
Four Key Challenges
Our commitment to peace in the Middle East does not end with the liberation of Kuwait. So tonight, let me outline four key challenges to be met. First, we must work together to create shared security arrangements in the region. Our friends and allies in the Middle East recognize that they will bear the bulk of the responsibility for regional security. But we want them to know that just as we stood with them to repel aggression, so now America stands ready to work with them to secure the peace. This does not mean stationing US ground forces in the Arabian Peninsula, but it does mean American participation in joint exercises involving both air and ground forces. It means maintaining a capable US naval presence in the region, just as we have for over 40 years. Let it be clear: Our vital national interests depend on a stable and secure Gulf. Second, we must act to control the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the missiles used to deliver them. It would be tragic if the nations of the Middle East and Persian Gulf were now, in the wake of war, to embark on a new arms race. Iraq requires special vigilance. Until Iraq convinces the world of its peaceful intentions--that its leaders will not use new revenues to rearm and rebuild its menacing war machine--Iraq must not have access to the instruments of war. Third, we must work to create new opportunities for peace and stability in the Middle East. On the night I an-nounced Operation Desert Storm, I expressed my hope that out of the horrors of war might come new momentum for peace. We've learned in the modern age geography cannot guarantee security and security does not come from military power alone. All of us know the depth of bitterness that has made the dispute between Israel and its neighbors so painful and intractable. Yet, in the conflict just concluded, Israel and many of the Arab states have, for the first time, found themselves confronting the same aggressor. By now, it should be plain to all parties that peacemaking in the Middle East requires compromise. At the same time, peace brings real benefits to everyone. We must do all that we can to close the gap between Israel and the Arab states and between Israelis and Palestinians. The tactics of terror lead absolutely nowhere. There can be no substitute for diplomacy. A comprehensive peace must be grounded in UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and the principle of territory for peace. This principle must be elaborated to provide for Israel's security and recognition and at the same time for legitimate Palestinian political rights. Anything else would fail the twin test of fairness and security. The time has come to put an end to Arab-Israeli conflict. The war with Iraq is over. The quest for solutions to the problems in Lebanon, in the Arab-Israeli dispute, and in the Gulf must go forward with new vigor and determination. And I guarantee you, no one will work harder for a stable peace in the region than we will. Fourth, we must foster economic development for the sake of peace and progress. The Persian Gulf and Middle East form a region rich in natural resources with a wealth of untapped human potential. Resources once squandered on military might must be redirected to more peaceful ends. We are already addressing the immediate economic consequences of Iraq's aggression. Now, the challenge is to reach higher, to foster economic freedom and prosperity for all the people of the region.
Building a Framework for Peace
By meeting these four challenges we can build a framework for peace. I've asked Secretary of State Baker to go to the Middle East to begin the process. He will go to listen, to probe, to offer suggestions, to advance the search for peace and stability. I've also asked him to raise the plight of the hostages held in Lebanon. We have not forgotten them, and we will not forget them. To all the challenges that confront this region of the world there is no single solution, no solely American answer. But we can make a difference. America will work tirelessly as a catalyst for positive change. But we cannot lead a new world abroad if, at home, it's politics as usual on American defense and diplomacy. It's time to turn away from the temptation to protect unneeded weapons systems and obsolete bases. It's time to put an end to micromanagement of foreign and security assistance programs, micromanagement that humiliates our friends and allies and hamstrings our diplomacy. It's time to rise above the parochial and the pork barrel--to do what is necessary, what's right, and what will enable this nation to play the leadership role required of us. The consequences of the conflict in the Gulf reach far beyond the confines of the Middle East. Twice before in this century, an entire world was convulsed by war. Twice this century, out of the horrors of war, hope emerged for enduring peace. Twice before, those hopes proved to be a distant dream, beyond the grasp of man. Until now, the world we've known has been a world divided--a world of barbed wire and concrete block, conflict, and Cold War. Now, we can see a new world coming into view, a world in which there is the very real prospect of a new world order: in the words of Winston Churchill, a world order in which "the principles of justice and fair play protect the weak against the strong"; a world where the United Nations--freed from Cold War stalemate--is poised to fulfill the historic vision of its founders; a world in which freedom and respect for human rights find a home among all nations. The Gulf war put this new world to its first test. And, my fellow Americans, we passed that test. For the sake of our principles, for the sake of the Kuwaiti people, we stood our ground. Because the world would not look the other way, Ambassador [to the US Saud Nasir] al-Sabah, tonight, Kuwait is free. And we are very happy about that. Tonight, as our troops begin to come home, let us recognize that the hard work of freedom still calls us forward. We've learned the hard lessons of history. The victory over Iraq was not waged as a "war to end all wars." Even the new world order cannot guarantee an era of perpetual peace. But enduring peace must be our mission.
Challenges at Home
Our success in the Gulf will shape not only the world order we seek but our mission here at home. In the war just ended, there were clear-cut objectives, timetables, and, above all, an overriding imperative to achieve results. We must bring that same sense of self-discipline, that same sense of urgency, to the way we meet challenges here at home. In my State of the Union address and in my budget, I defined a comprehensive agenda to prepare for the next American century. Our first priority is to get this economy rolling again. The fear and uncertainty caused by the Gulf crisis were understandable. But now that the war is over, oil prices are down, interest rates are down, and confidence is rightly coming back. Americans can move forward--to lend, spend, and invest in this, the strongest economy on earth. We must also enact the legislation that is key to building a better America. For example, in 1990, we enacted a historic Clean Air Act. And, now, we've proposed a national energy strategy. We passed a child care bill that put power in the hands of parents. And, today, we're ready to do the same thing with our schools and expand choice in education. We passed a crime bill that made a useful start in fighting crime and drugs. This year, we're sending to Congress our comprehensive crime package to finish the job. We passed the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act. And, now, we've sent forward our civil rights bill. We also passed the aviation bill. This year we've sent up our new highway bill. And these are just a few of our pending proposals for reform and renewal. So, tonight, I call on Congress to move forward aggressively on our domestic front. Let's begin with two initiatives we should be able to agree on quickly: transportation and crime. And then, let's build on success with those and enact the rest of our agenda. If our forces could win the ground war in 100 hours, then surely the Congress can pass this legislation in 100 days. Let that be a promise we make tonight to the American people.
Honoring US Troops
When I spoke in this House about the state of our union, I asked all of you: If we can selflessly confront evil for the sake of good in a land so far away, then surely we can make this land all that it should be. In the time since then, the brave men and women of Desert Storm accomplished more than even they may realize. They set out to confront an enemy abroad, and, in the process, they transformed a nation at home. Think of the way they went about their mission-- with confidence and quiet pride. Think about their sense of duty, about all they taught us, about our values, about ourselves. We hear so often about our young people in turmoil: how our children fall short, how our schools fail us, how American products and American workers are second-class. Well, don't you believe it. The America we saw in Desert Storm was first-class talent. They did it using America's state-of-the-art technology. We saw the excellence embodied in the Patriot missile and the patriots who made it work. And, we saw soldiers who know about honor and bravery and duty and country and the world-shaking power of these simple words. There is something noble and majestic about the pride, about the patriotism that we feel tonight. So to everyone here and everyone watching at home, think about the men and women of Desert Storm. Let us honor them with our gratitude. Let us comfort the families of the fallen and remember each precious life lost. Let us learn from them as well. Let us honor those who have served us by serving others. Let us honor them as individuals--men and women of every race, all creeds and colors--by setting the face of this nation against discrimination, bigotry, and hate. Eliminate them. I'm sure that many of you saw on the television the unforgettable scene of four terrified Iraqi soldiers surrendering. They emerged from their bunker broken, tears streaming from their eyes, fearing the worst. And then there was an American soldier. Remember what he said? He said: "It's okay. You're all right now. You're all right now." That scene says a lot about America, a lot about who we are. Americans are a caring people. We are a good people, a generous people. Let us always be caring and good and generous in all we do. Soon, very soon, our troops will begin the march we've all been waiting for--their march home. And, I have directed Secretary Cheney to begin the immediate return of American combat units from the Gulf. Less than 2 hours from now, the first planeload of American soldiers will lift off from Saudi Arabia headed for the USA. It will carry men and women of the 24th Mechanized Infantry Division bound for Fort Stewart, Georgia. This is just the beginning of a steady flow of American troops coming home. Let their return remind us that all those who have gone before are linked with us in the long line of freedom's march. Americans have always tried to serve, to sacrifice nobly for what we believe to be right. Tonight, I ask every community in this country to make this coming 4th of July a day of special celebration for our returning troops. They may have missed Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I can tell you this: For them and for their families, we can make this a holiday they'll never forget. In a very real sense, this victory belongs to them--to the privates and the pilots, to the sergeants and the supply officers, to the men and women in the machines and the men and women who made them work. It belongs to the regulars, to the reserves, to the National Guard. This victory belongs to the finest fighting force this nation has ever known in its history. We went halfway around the world to do what is moral and just and right. We fought hard, and, with others, we won the war. We lifted the yoke of aggression and tyranny from a small country that many Americans had never even heard of, and we shall ask nothing in return. We're coming home now--proud, confident, heads high. There is much that we must do at home and abroad. And we will do it. We are Americans. May God bless this great nation, the United States of America. Thank you all very, very much.

Secretary Baker: Foreign Assistance Funding Proposal for FY 1992

[Excerpt from statement prepared for delivery before the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations of the House Appropriations Committee, Washington, DC, May 22, 1991] [Text] Mr. Chairman, I am privileged to appear before this subcommittee to testify on behalf of our foreign assistance funding proposal for fiscal year (FY) 1992. I would like to report on my recent trips to the Middle East, devoting the bulk of my remarks to the Middle East peace process and to the situation in Iraq. I also would like to make some brief observations about the Soviet Union and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The Peace Process
For the past 2 months, we've been engaged in an intensive effort to find a path to a comprehensive settlement through direct negotiations between Israel, the Arab states, and Palestinians. Since we began that effort, I have had no illusions about the challenges and difficulties involved. But I also have had a strong sense that the Gulf war may have created some new possibilities for peace-making in the region and that the United States has a unique obligation to help explore them. While it would be sad if it turns out that old obstacles are more formidable than new opportunities, it would be sadder still if the United States failed to energetically pursue a chance for peace. Those chances do not come along very often in the Middle East. Iraq's invasion of Kuwait brought together a historic international coalition. The United States, the Soviet Union, Europeans, Arabs, and others joined to reverse Iraq's aggression. The United Nations played the role its founders had intended. And through its restraint in the face of Iraqi provocation, Israel became a silent partner in the coalition's success. The net result was a staggering defeat for Saddam Hussein and the path of violence and intimidation that he represented and new hope for the alternative path of diplomacy and negotiations. To test the moment and transform the ground rules for Arab-Israeli peace-making, we felt it important to engage in a process that would break the taboos on direct dialogue. If the impulse to make peace was different, we needed to overcome the barriers to Israelis, Arabs, and Palestinians meeting directly. We needed to establish that dialogue and diplomacy--not violence or rejectionism--could become the currency of politics in the region. The war provided a grim reminder of the dangers of conflict in an era of escalating military competition. It was a reminder that the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians was still at the core of the Arab-Israeli problem--but that the state-to- state dimension also had to be addressed. And it was a hopeful reminder that Israel and the Arab states sometimes find common ground between them--common ground which might provide room for maneuver to encourage Israeli-Palestinian accommodation. Our post-war task, therefore, was to try to blend what was new and promising following the crisis with the enduring principles of Arab- Israeli diplomacy. That was the purpose of my first three trips to the region after the war. The result was a consensus among the parties on five key points. First, general agreement that the objective of the process is a comprehensive settlement achieved through direct negotiations based on UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. Second, broad understanding that the negotiating process would proceed simultaneously along two tracks, involving direct negotiations between Israel and Arab states and between Israel and Palestinians from the occupied territories. Third, agreement that the negotiations between Israel and Palestinians would proceed in phases, with talks on interim self- government preceding negotiations over the permanent status of the occupied territories. Fourth, agreement that Palestinians would be represented in the process by leaders from the occupied territories who accept the two-track process and phased approach to negotiations and who commit to living in peace with Israel. Fifth, general acceptance that a conference, co-sponsored by the United States and the Soviet Union, would break the old taboos about public launching pad for direct negotiations between the parties. These are not insignificant areas of consensus. And they certainly provide a baseline for progress. But they still have to be translated into a practical process, and that was the purpose of my most recent trip to the area. Let me give you a sense of the key issues we are still trying to resolve.
Resolution of Key Issues
The first set of issues relates to modalities of the peace conference. There has been a great deal of misunderstanding on this question so let me lay out simply what we have in mind. Our objective is to launch direct negotiations. That's what this effort is all about. We believe the best way to do this is through a peace conference that would lead directly to bilateral negotiations between Israel and its Arab and Palestinian neighbors and multilateral negotiations on issues such as arms control and regional security, the environment, and water. Let me be clear about this. We are not considering an international conference with a plenary that has the power or authority to impose its views, nor are we considering any mechanism that would interfere in any way with negotiations. In fact, as I've told those in the region, the conference is not a forum for negotiations. Quite simply, it's a means to an end, a tool in our effort to get the parties to sit down face-to-face to sort out their differences and to break anachronistic taboos. This conference would be co-sponsored by the United States and the Soviet Union. Israel, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestinians from the occupied territories would attend. As you know, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has already taken a very important step and agreed to send its Secretary General as observer. In addition, each of the member states of the GCC, the six Gulf states, have announced they will participate in the direct negotiations on multilateral issues. We also believe the European Community (EC) could play a constructive role in support of this process, and especially in the hard work of economic development that would follow a negotiated peace. The EC should be able to participate in the conference. Similarly, the United Nations should have some role; a formula ought to be found that is acceptable to all the parties, that prejudices none, and that channels the new-found potential of the United Nations in ways that can be helpful in promoting peace and reconciliation in the area. The exact nature of EC and UN involvement is still unresolved. Another open question is the ability of the conference to reconvene. The United States believes it should be able to do so, if all the parties agree, in order to hear reports from the bilateral and multilateral negotiating groups. The point is that none of this will, in any way, interfere with direct negotiations. Indeed, face-to-face negotiations offer the only way to make any progress, and we would not accept any proposal that would lead any party to believe that it could avoid negotiations or have others relieve it of the need to negotiate. The other set of issues deals with the question of Palestinian representation in the negotiations. From the beginning of this Administration, we have made it clear that our objective is to get Israel and Palestinians from the occupied territories into negotiations. Of course, Palestinians must choose their representatives, but our view is--and many other parties agree--that a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation could be a useful vehicle to get to the conference as well as to handle any number of issues that might arise during the negotiations. So the purpose of my recent trip to the region was to continue to explore these issues with the parties and to determine where there was consensus and which areas required more work. Overall, I found that there is more agreement than disagreement on the key elements of our approach. And I found a willingness to continue looking for ways to resolve those areas that are still not nailed down. I also had extremely useful discussions with Soviet Foreign Minister Bessmertnykh in the Soviet Union and in Cairo. The Soviets have been very supportive of our approach. The fact that the Soviet Union and the United States are in basic agreement about how to proceed on the peace process creates a new factor--one that improves the chances of getting this process launched. Nonetheless, we are obviously not at the point I would like to be. There are areas of disagreement, particularly between Israel and Syria over the modalities of the conference, both on the issue of the UN role and over the issue of reconvening the conference. I'm not going to pretend that sorting these out will be easy or that it will be done quickly. But I will say that we will continue to try so long as we believe that all parties are working in good faith and are serious about finding ways to resolve differences. The President and I have talked about our next steps, and we believe we should continue to press ahead and see if we can overcome the gaps and get to negotiations. Finally, I believe the parties in the region do appreciate that there's a real chance to launch a process. We've defined a workable pathway to negotiations that would enable Israel, Arab states, and Palestinians to capture that chance and make a real break with the past in favor of peace. It is there for the taking, but it will not last forever. What remains to be seen is whether the parties are willing to seize this chance. The United States is there, ready and willing to help them try. But we cannot create the political will to act, if it does not exist in the region....

Promoting Peace in the Middle East

[Text of a joint statement released by the White House on July 31, 1991]. President Bush and President Gorbachev reaffirmed their strong mutual commitment to promote peace and genuine reconciliation among the Arab States, Israel, and the Palestinians. They believe there is an historic opportunity now to launch a process that can lead to a just and enduring peace and to a. comprehensive settlement in the Middle East. They share the strong conviction that this historic opportunity must not be lost. While recognizing that peace cannot be imposed and that it can only result from direct negotiations between the parties, the United States and the Soviet Union pledge to do their utmost to promote and sustain the peace-making process. To that end, the United States and the Soviet Union, acting as co-sponsors, will work to convene in October a peace conference designed to launch bilateral and multilateral negotiations. Invitations to the conference will be issued at least ten days prior to the date the conference is to convene. In the interim, Secretary Baker and Minister Bessmertnykh will continue to work with the parties to prepare for the conference.

Secretary Baker: Middle East Peace Conference--The Hope of a New Era

[Excerpts from a news conference, Jerusalem, October 18, 1991]. Ladies and gentlemen, first of all, I want to apologize for running up so close to the Sabbath, but today is an important day and this is an important moment. An American Secretary of State and a Soviet Foreign Minister are together in Jerusalem for the first time in history. What's more, the Soviet Union has today restored full diplomatic relations with the State of Israel after a break of 24 years. But our joint presence here today represents something more: Foreign Minister Pankin and I are pleased to announce that President Bush and President Gorbachev are today inviting Israel, Arab states, and Palestinians to attend a Middle East peace conference to be held beginning October 30 in Madrid. That conference is to be followed by direct negotiations designed to achieve real peace. We have witnessed new beginnings in other parts of the world. The negotiating process we are seeking to launch with this invitation holds the hope of a new era in the Middle East: -- The hope of an era marked by acceptance and not by rejection; -- The hope of an era marked by dialogue and not by violence; -- The hope of an era marked by cooperation and not by conflict; -- The hope of an era marked by hope and not by despair. This invitation offers the peoples in this region a pathway to ending an era of confrontation and a basis for a new future. The road to peace will not be simple; to the contrary, it will be extremely difficult, with many problems, hitches, and interruptions along the way. Old suspicions will not quickly disappear. The gaps are real and won't easily be overcome. We have no illusions about the hard work ahead. But we take encouragement from the issuance of these invitations, the product of work of the last 8 months. As we have all along, we intend to take this one step at a time. And so, if we receive positive responses to this invitation, we will be taking one more step forward toward achieving the peace and security that the peoples of the Middle East have so long been denied.

President Bush, Soviet President Gorbachev: Meeting Between Presidents Bush and Gorbachev

[Excerpts from opening remarks at a news conference, Madrid, Spain, October 29, 1991]
President Bush:
I want to thank President Gorbachev. We've had yet another very constructive meeting. We're here, of course, for this international conference on the Middle East, and I can express my gratitude to President Gorbachev for the very constructive role that the Soviet Union has played in the actions leading up to this conference; we are grateful to him for that. We also discussed some of the matters of mutual interest involving the situation inside the Soviet Union, the dynamic change there, the commitment to reform that is still very strong. And all in all, as far as I'm concerned, it was yet one more very good meeting with the president.
President Gorbachev:
[Through an interpreter.] I join what Mr. President just said and wanted only to say a couple of words for myself. We agreed on holding this meeting since it was a very convenient opportunity . . . to coordinate our watches-- synchronize our watches--to talk a little about what is of mutual interest to the Soviet Union and to the United States. Yes, it's true that we began by--we talked about all the many years of effort that we made. Especially our joint efforts in the very recent past, both of the United States and the Soviet Union, have brought us to the point now where today--tomorrow--this long- awaited forum, this long-awaited conference is opening. And let's hope that given everything that we might encounter along the way during these negotiations within the confines of this conference; let's hope that it all turns out for the best and positively. In any case, President Bush and I have agreed that having opened this conference and having left Madrid, we [do] not at all expect to be somewhere on the side. On the contrary, we're going to facilitate as much as possible, use all the remedies that we have at our disposal. I think that all the participants of the conference and we, too, wanted--both today and tomorrow we'll talk about it some more, maybe--to appeal to everybody that they act responsibly with great understanding that what is beginning within the framework of this Madrid conference--how meaningful it is and that everybody be very constructive as much as possible. Further, we said a lot and talked a lot about--since I had the intention to pose before President Bush several questions, several issues vis-a-vis what's happening internally in the Soviet Union and also because he and [the] Secretary of State also had a whole series of questions . . . to ask for the benefit of their own understanding to try to find out where we now are in the Soviet Union and to get a better grasp of what kind of issues and problems we're trying to solve. This took quite a large percentage of our time, maybe--probably-- the majority of our meeting. I'm very satisfied by the position which was held, by the position of the President of the United States, and hope that--have all the basis to believe and feel--that this is yet another step in strengthening the mutual understanding and cooperation between our two countries right at the stage of all the great and momentous changes that are taking place. And, finally, we had an exchange of information and views as to what each of the sides is doing in the context of disarmament and all the initiatives that have been undertaken. The President and I very highly--gave a very high mark to the way we are solving a lot of these very burning issues, which for many years have plagued us. But, now, basing ourselves on all the experiences that have happened over the last few years, especially how well we're getting along now with our two countries, between the Soviet Union and the United States, also among the members of the two governments of the two countries, that we're finding very good solutions. In any event, we wanted to have a very short meeting to chat and maybe not overload ourselves too much because the subject of this meeting, in fact, is the opening of the conference. But, in fact, we had a very substantive discussion. I think it will be very useful for both parties, for both sides.

President Bush: Opening Session of Middle East Peace Conference

[Address before the opening session of the Middle East Peace Conference, Madrid, October 30, 1991] Prime Minister Gonzalez [of Spain], and [Soviet] President Gorbachev, Excellencies. Let me begin by thanking the Government of Spain for hosting this historic gathering. With short notice, the Spanish people and their leaders stepped forward to make available this magnificent setting. Let us hope that this conference of Madrid will mark the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the Middle East. I also want to express at the outset my pleasure at the presence of our fellow co-sponsor, President Gorbachev. At a time of momentous challenges at home, President Gorbachev and his senior associates have demonstrated their intent to engage the Soviet Union as a force for positive change in the Middle East. This sends a powerful signal to all those who long for peace. We come to Madrid on a mission of hope--to begin work on a just, lasting, and comprehensive settlement to the conflict in the Middle East. We come here to seek peace for a part of the world that in the long memory of man has known far too much hatred, anguish, and war. I can think of no endeavor more worthy or more necessary. Our objective must be clear and straightforward. It is not simply to end the state of war in the Middle East and replace it with a state of non-belligerency. This is not enough; this would not last. Rather, we seek peace--real peace--and by real peace I mean treaties, security, diplomatic relations, economic relations, trade, investment, cultural exchange, even tourism. What we seek is a Middle East where vast resources are no longer devoted to armaments; a Middle East where young people no longer have to dedicate and, all too often, give their lives to combat; a Middle East no longer victimized by fear and terror; [and] a Middle East where normal men and women lead normal lives. Let no one mistake the magnitude of this challenge. The struggle we seek to end has a long and painful history. Every life lost--every outrage, every act of violence--is etched deep in the hearts and history of the people of this region. Theirs is a history that weighs heavily against hope. And yet history need not be man's master. I expect that some will say that what I am suggesting is impossible. But think back. Who back in 1945 would have thought that France and Germany, bitter rivals for nearly a century, would become allies in the aftermath of World War II? And who, 2 years ago, would have predicted that the Berlin Wall would come down? And who in the early 1960s would have believed that the Cold War would come to a peaceful end, replaced by cooperation--exemplified by the fact that the United States and the Soviet Union are here today not as rivals but as partners, as Prime Minister Gonzalez pointed out. No, peace in the Middle East need not be a dream. Peace is possible. The Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty is striking proof that former adversaries can make and sustain peace. And, moreover, parties in the Middle East have respected agreements not only in the Sinai but on the Golan Heights as well. The fact that we are all gathered here today for the first time attests to a new potential for peace. Each of us has taken an important step toward real peace by meeting here in Madrid. All the formulas on paper, all the pious declarations in the world won't bring peace if there is no practical mechanism for moving ahead. Peace will only come as the result of direct negotiations, compromise, give-and-take. Peace cannot be imposed from the outside by the United States or anyone else. While we will continue to do everything possible to help the parties overcome obstacles, peace must come from within. We come here to Madrid as realists. We do not expect peace to be negotiated in a day, or a week, or a month, or even a year. It will take time; indeed, it should take time--time for parties so long at war to learn to talk to one another, to listen to one another. Time to heal old wounds and build trust. In this quest, time need not be the enemy of progress. What we envision is a process of direct negotiations proceeding along two tracks: one between Israel and the Arab states, the other between Israel and the Palestinians. Negotiations are to be conducted on the basis of UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. The real work will not happen here in the plenary session but in direct bilateral negotiations. This conference cannot impose a settlement on the participants or veto agreements, and, just as important, the conference can only be reconvened with the consent of every participant. Progress is in the hands of the parties who must live with the consequences. Soon after the bilateral talks commence, parties will convene as well to organize multilateral negotiations. These will focus on issues that cross national boundaries and are common to the region: arms control, water, refugee concerns, economic development. Progress in these forums is not intended as a substitute for what must be decided in the bilateral talks; to the contrary, progress in the multilateral issues can help create an atmosphere in which long- standing bilateral disputes can more easily be settled. For Israel and the Palestinians, a framework already exists for diplomacy. Negotiations will be conducted in phases, beginning with talks on interim self-government arrangements. We aim to reach agreement within 1 year. And once agreed, interim self-government arrangements will last for 5 years; beginning the third year, negotiations will commence on permanent status. No one can say with any precision what the end result will be; in our view, something must be developed, something acceptable to Israel, the Palestinians, and Jordan that gives the Palestinian people meaningful control over their own lives and fate and provides for the acceptance and security of Israel. We can all appreciate that both Israelis and Palestinians are worried about compromise, worried about compromising even the smallest point for fear it becomes a precedent for what really matters. But no one should avoid compromise on interim arrangements for a simple reason: Nothing agreed to now will prejudice permanent status negotiations. To the contrary, these subsequent negotiations will be determined on their own merits. Peace cannot depend upon promises alone. Real peace--lasting peace--must be based upon security for all states and peoples, including Israel. For too long, the Israeli people have lived in fear, surrounded by an unaccepting Arab world. Now is the ideal moment for the Arab world to demonstrate that attitudes have changed, that the Arab world is willing to live in peace with Israel and make allowances for Israel's reasonable security needs. We know that peace must also be based on fairness. In the absence of fairness, there will be no legitimacy--no stability. This applies above all to the Palestinian people, many of whom have known turmoil and frustration above all else. Israel now has an opportunity to demonstrate that it is willing to enter into a new relationship with its Palestinian neighbors, one predicated upon mutual respect and cooperation. Throughout the Middle East, we seek a stable and enduring settlement. We've not defined what this means; indeed, I make these points with no map showing where the final borders are to be drawn. Nevertheless, we believe territorial compromise is essential for peace. Boundaries should reflect the quality of both security and political arrangements. The United States is prepared to accept whatever the parties themselves find acceptable. What we seek, as I said on March 6, is a solution that meets the twin tests of fairness and security. I know--I expect we all know--that these negotiations will not be easy. I know, too, that these negotiations will not be smooth. There will be disagreement and criticism, setbacks--who knows--possibly interruptions. Negotiation and compromise are always painful. Success will escape us if we focus solely upon what is being given up. We must fix our vision on what real peace would bring. Peace, after all, means not just avoiding war and the costs of preparing for it. The Middle East is blessed with great resources: physical, financial, and, yes, above all, human. New opportunities are within reach--if we only have the vision to embrace them. To succeed, we must recognize that peace is in the interest of all parties--war, absolute advantage of none. The alternative to peace in the Middle East is a future of violence and waste and tragedy. In any future war lurks the danger of weapons of mass destruction. As we learned in the Gulf war, modern arsenals make it possible to attack urban areas--to put the lives of innocent men, women, and children at risk, to transform city streets, schools, and children's playgrounds into battlefields. Today, we can decide to take a different path to the future--to avoid conflict. I call upon all parties to avoid unilateral acts, be they words or deeds, that would invite retaliation or, worse yet, prejudice or even threaten this process itself. I call upon all parties to consider taking measures that will bolster mutual confidence and trust--steps that signal a sincere commitment to reconciliation. I want to say something about the role of the United States of America. We played an active role in making this conference possible; both the Secretary of State, Jim Baker, and I will play an active role in helping the process succeed. Toward this end, we've provided written assurances to Israel, to Syria, to Jordan, Lebanon, and the Palestinians. In the spirit of openness and honesty, we will brief all parties on the assurances that we have provided to the other. We're prepared to extend guarantees, provide technology and support, if that is what peace requires. And we will call upon our friends and allies in Europe and in Asia to join with us in providing resources so that peace and prosperity go hand in hand. Outsiders can assist, but, in the end, it is up to the peoples and governments of the Middle East to shape the future of the Middle East. It is their opportunity and it is their responsibility to do all that they can to take advantage of this gathering, this historic gathering, and what it symbolizes and what it promises. No one should assume that the opportunity before us to make peace will remain if we fail to seize the moment. Ironically, this is an opportunity born of war--the destruction of past wars, the fear of future wars. The time has come to put an end to war--the time has come to choose peace. Speaking for the American people, I want to reaffirm that the United States is prepared to facilitate the search for peace, to be a catalyst as we've been in the past and as we've been very recently. We seek only one thing, and this we seek not for ourselves but for the peoples of the area and particularly the children: That this and future generations of the Middle East may know the meaning and blessing of peace. We have seen too many generations of children whose haunted eyes show only fear, too many funerals for their brothers and sisters, the mothers and fathers who died too soon, too much hatred, too little love. And if we cannot summon the courage to lay down the past for ourselves, let us resolve to do it for the children. May God bless and guide the work of this conference, and may this conference set us on the path of peace. Thank you.

Secretary Baker: Middle East Peace Conference

Middle East Peace Conference
[Opening remarks at the Middle East Peace Conference, the Royal Palace, Madrid, November 1, 1991.] Distinguished colleagues, ladies and gentlemen: Over the last 8 months, many people in the region have exerted great efforts and contributed in many ways to make this conference and negotiations possible. All of you in this hall fall into that category. But there are some who are not here now, individuals who have made essential contributions to the process, without which, in my view, this conference would not have happened. In this regard, I want to pay tribute: -- To President Mubarak of Egypt, who was a confidant, adviser, friend, and advocate for this process from the very beginning; -- To King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, who demonstrated by word and deed that new opportunities for Arab-Israeli peace existed after the Gulf war, and who personified this new approach in the Arab world; -- To President Assad of Syria, whose assurance to me that Syria had made an historic choice and decision in favor of peace and whose early commitment to this process both proved to be vital; -- To King Hussein of Jordan, whose courage, leadership, and willingness to commit publicly and quickly in support of this process transformed the dynamics in the region; -- To Prime Minister Shamir of Israel, whose steady determination and strong leadership proved essential to reaching an agreement to convene this conference and to launch direct bilateral negotiations for real peace between Israel and its neighbors; -- To Foreign Minister Levy of Israel, who was determined to develop an active and meaningful peace process and who worked creatively to overcome obstacles in our path; -- To President Hrawi of Lebanon, who has worked to re-establish central authority in his war-ravaged country, which is a necessary step toward peace in the region; [and] -- To Palestinians with whom I met, like Faisal Husseini and Hanan Ashrawi, whose personal courage in the face of enormous pressures has created the possibility of a better life for Palestinians. Even in a period of dramatic and far-reaching change around the world, this conference stands apart. Fourteen days ago, President Bush and President Gorbachev invited Israel, the Arab states, and Palestinians to this peace conference and to direct negotiations that follow. In response to that invitation, Israel, Jordan, the Palestinians, Syria, and Lebanon agreed to attend the conference and to participate in the direct negotiations. In addition, the European Community, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, and Mauritania agreed to participate in this process. This conference demonstrates vividly the end of the Cold War and the flowering of US-Soviet partnership in resolving regional conflicts. Where we once competed, we now cooperate. Where there was once polarization, there is now coordination. What was once unthinkable--the United States and the Soviet Union co-sponsoring a process of peace in the Middle East--became a reality this week. Our work--making peace through negotiations--has just begun. As we look at the challenges ahead, it is worth noting and learning from what we have already accomplished. -- For decades, agreement on whether to negotiate eluded the parties. This weekend, direct, bilateral negotiations aimed at comprehensive, genuine peace will start. -- For decades, agreement on what to negotiate eluded the parties. This weekend, negotiations should begin on the accepted basis of UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. -- For decades, agreement on how to negotiate eluded the parties. This weekend, negotiations will begin on two tracks and in phases; and in a few weeks, those parties who wish to participate will convene to organize multilateral negotiations on a wide range of issues that affect the well-being of all peoples in the region. These are not mere platitudes. During these 8 months of diplomacy, though the parties sometimes fell back on old slogans and outmoded code words, they also came to understand the need to engage concretely and pragmatically to resolve problems. I said often that the parties would probably stake out maximum positions, especially as they got closer to negotiations. This is not surprising, especially in a public forum. The key, however, is to get beyond the rhetoric and into the direct negotiations.
Fundamentals of American Policy
A basic tenet of American thinking is that negotiations are the best way to resolve disputes and achieve peace. Negotiations do not guarantee peace. But without negotiations, there is no way to produce genuine peace and no mechanism to develop understandings that can endure. The United States is willing to be a catalytic force, an energizing force, and a driving force in the negotiating process. Our involvement in this process will be rooted solidly in the core principles enunciated by President Bush last March. They will remain the cornerstone that guides our participation in the negotiating process. The United States is and will be an honest broker. We have our own positions and views on the peace process, and we will not forego our right to state these. But, as an honest broker with experience-- successful experience--in the Middle East negotiations, we also know that our critical contribution will often be to exert quiet, behind-the-scenes influence and persuasion. Let no one mistake our role as an honest broker to mean that we will change longstanding US policy positions, and let no one mistake our policy positions as undercutting our determination to help the parties reach fair and mutually acceptable solutions to problems. As President Bush and I have both said this week: It is not our policies that matter; it is those of the parties. They are the ones that must negotiate peace. This week, the parties provided insight into their thinking about a negotiated settlement. They outlined three broad requirements in the search for peace. First, we heard a yearning for peace --the wish of peoples in the region to live in a mutually satisfying relationship with neighbors, a relationship characterized by peace treaties, economic relations, cultural ties, and political dialogue. Second, we heard an emphasis on land--the desire of peoples in the region to exercise authority and political governance over territory they consider part of their national, political, historical, or religious patrimony. Third, we heard a need for security --the requirement of people to live free of fear and the obligation of governments to do their best to protect their citizens. What the parties, in fact, said this week is that these core issues-- land, peace, and security--are inseparable elements in the search for a comprehensive settlement. The parties have made clear that peace by itself is unachievable without a territorial solution and security; that a territorial solution by itself will not resolve the conflict without there also being peace and security; and that security by itself is impossible to achieve without a territorial solution and peace. The process on which we are embarked can work only if all issues are put on the table, and if all issues are satisfactorily resolved.
The Negotiating Process
One key issue is the style of negotiations. Today, the Soviet Union and the United States are on the same side of the table--literally and figuratively--in striving for global peace and the resolution of regional conflicts. Today, and in the future, we will work together in pursuit of a Middle East settlement. The United States, at the highest levels, will remain intimately engaged in this process. We expect to be available to the parties throughout this process. The United States and the Soviet Union are prepared to participate directly in the negotiations themselves, with the consent of all parties. We will do our part. But we cannot do your part as well. The United States and the Soviet Union will provide encouragement, advice, recommendations, proposals, and views to help the peace process. Sometimes, you will be satisfied with our views; sometimes frustrated. Sometimes, we will support your positions and sometimes not. Sometimes, we will act quietly and behind the scenes, and sometimes we will make known our views and positions in public. None of this, however, will relieve you--the parties--of the obligation of making peace. If you won't do it, we certainly can't. As I have said from the beginning of this effort, we cannot want peace more than you, the parties most directly affected by its absence. Parties in this process cannot reasonably be expected to operate outside their political environment; but they should be expected to educate, shape, guide, and lead politics and opinion. Leaders in the region have taken difficult and courageous deci-sions to get to this conference and to negotiations. More difficult and more courageous decisions will be required to settle this conflict.
Venue of Bilateral Negotiations
As you know, the invitation sent to the parties on October 18 contained the terms of reference for this peace process, terms of reference that had been meticulously negotiated and agreed. This invitation specified that direct, bilateral negotiations would begin 4 days after the opening of the conference. But there was never agreement regarding the location for those bilateral negotiations. The parties have not yet been able to agree on where to hold these negotiations. It is the view of the co-sponsors that the direct, bilateral negotiations should start in Madrid as soon as possible. It is the intention of the co-sponsors to continue to consult with the parties with a view to fulfilling the requirements of the invitation on this subject. From the perspective of the co-sponsors, and, indeed, from the perspective of most of the rest of the world, it would be very difficult to understand how a party could now refuse to attend bilateral negotiations simply because of a disagreement over the site of those negotiations. Finally, I want to note that a meeting will take place in several weeks among those parties who wish to participate in multilateral negotiations to organize those negotiations. These talks will focus on issues of critical interest to many parties in the region. They will be a complement to the bilateral negotiations. I am pleased that the multilateral negotiations have already gained widespread support and interest both in and outside the Middle East.
Building Confidence and Trust
This week, many have focused on the need for steps that would build confidence and trust. The United States continues to believe that confidence-building measures are important for the process and for the parties themselves. I want to be perfectly honest, standing here as I am before colleagues with whom I have spent many, many hours since last March. The unwillingness of the parties to take confidence- building steps has been disappointing. You have dealt successfully with formulas and positions. You have agreed on terms of reference that are fair and equitable. You have launched a process of negotiations that can succeed. But you have failed to deal adequately with the human dimension of the conflict. As I traveled through the region, I witnessed terrible scenes of human tragedy, suffering, and despair. Innocent civilians caught in the crossfire of a conflict they wish would end: refugees and displaced persons wandering across the vast expanses of time, mothers and fathers afraid of the future that awaits their children, and children being schooled in the lessons of animosity and conflict rather than friendship and accommodation. Formulas, terms of reference, and negotiations are not enough. Support for a negotiating process will not be sustainable unless the human dimension is addressed by all parties. A way must be found to send signals of peace and reconciliation that affect the peoples of the region. Don't wait for the other side to start; each of you needs to get off the mark quickly. You should know best what is needed. Through negotiations and through these and other steps, you can demonstrate respect for the rights of others. You can express understanding of the fears of others. You can touch the people--the women, men, and children--who are the victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict. We can only succeed at the table, if we find ways of reaching out to one another away from the table. The challenges have been great, and the obstacles have been many, on the road to peace. Your decisions over these 8 months of intensive diplomacy have created a new baseline of realism and commitment to peace. This conference has been vital in breaking down the barriers of communication and in establishing for all to see that Arab and Israeli leaders can meet face to face.
Conclusion
In closing, let me speak to each of you personally and directly. For over 4 decades, the world waited for this week. Peace-loving peoples everywhere tried time and again to get you--the makers of this intractable conflict--to join together to discuss your differences. This week, here in Madrid, you finally have met and held such a meeting. This has been a start--a good start--a historic start that has broken old taboos--an important start that opens further opportunities. But it is only a start--and that's not enough. You must not let this start become an end. When you walk out these doors, you carry with you great responsibilities. You carry with you the responsibility to your peoples to seek peace. You carry with you the responsibility to the world to build a comprehensive and just peace. You carry with you the responsibility to yourselves to break with the past and pursue a new future. For if you do not seize this historic opportunity, no one will blame anyone outside your region. You now shoulder the destiny and challenge of making peace as you enter direct negotiations with your neighbors. The continuation and success of this process is in your hands. The world still looks to each of you to make the choice for peace.
News Conference
[Opening statement at a news conference, IFEMA Press Center, Madrid, November 3, 1991.] Let me begin by saying that the Madrid conference was a beginning. I think it was a good beginning. Today, the parties have taken another critical step beginning direct bilateral negotiations between Israel and the joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation, Israel and Lebanon, and Israel and Syria. There have been and, as I have said before, there will be obstacles in this process to be overcome, but they have not deterred us until now, and they do not, in my view, diminish the importance of what has happened this week. Let me emphasize another point that I made in my address to the peace conference on Friday. The parties have not agreed on venue and, in fact, as you know, the major issue that we had to work over the weekend was where to hold the bilateral negotiations. This is still an open question, and it is one that will need to be resolved as the negotiations proceed. The United States and the Soviet Union expressed the hope that the parties themselves will continue to negotiate in order to reach an understanding. In the absence of agreement, we will work together with the parties. And we will make proposals as necessary. The United States and the Soviet Union intend to maintain our position that bilateral negotiations should be face-to-face and take place separately between an Israeli delegation and each of the other delegations. On behalf of the co-sponsors, I want all to know that the arrangements that have been so laboriously worked out for these initial bilateral meetings will not be considered precedential for future rounds of talks. Amidst all of the procedural wrangling, it is important, I think, not to lose sight of the breakthrough represented by the start of direct bilateral negotiations. As I have stressed all along, direct negotiations are the only way in which real progress is going to be made and the only way in which real progress--real peace--is ever going to be achieved. I want to take special note of the steadfast commitment of the Jordanian-Palestinian delegation to beginning bilateral negotiations. And I want to express appreciation to all those who have gone the extra mile to make these opening meetings possible today, particularly the Government of Israel. From the initial reports I have received from the delegations themselves, I am especially pleased with the quality of the first negotiating session between the Israeli and joint Jordanian- Palestinian delegations. As they told me, and as their public statement made clear, they surely intend to proceed in a serious and constructive fashion, and that gives us reason to believe that we really are entering a new phase in the Middle East. I will be leaving Madrid at the conclusion of this press conference. Assistant Secretary [for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Edward] Djerejian and many of my senior experts will remain in Madrid until the delegations have departed. And before I take your questions, let me say a word, since I've gotten a number of questions recently about this, a word about my plans for the next 2 weeks. I will leave immediately after this press conference to join President Bush to attend the opening of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Center in California. I will then travel with the President to attend the NATO summit in Rome as well as the US-EC meeting in the Netherlands. Then I plan to go directly from there to Japan, Korea, and China, returning to Washington in mid-November. I will be attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Korea. I have been looking forward for a long time to in-depth consultations with the Japanese in Japan. I regret that I was not able to visit Japan when I was in Asia earlier this year, because the United States has no bilateral relationship in Asia that is any more important than our relationship with Japan. And let me conclude by saying a word about my trip to China. China has almost one-fourth of all the people in the world. It has nuclear weapons. It has great influence in the region, and it has immense economic potential. We have some real problems, and we can't expect to make headway with these problems unless we discuss them. Ignoring them will not make the problems go away.

Edward P. Djerejian: The Middle East in the Post-Gulf War Period

[Statement by the Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs before the Subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Washington, DC, November 20, 1991] [Introduction] Mr. Chairman, it is a distinct privilege for me to make my first appearance before this distinguished subcommittee. With your permission I would like to comment on the historic achievements of the Madrid peace conference and describe what the road ahead of the Arab-Israeli peace process looks like. Further, I will make a few comments on the situation in Iraq. Of course, I am prepared to address these and whatever other issues the members of the subcommittee may wish to raise during the subsequent discussion.
Arab-Israeli Peace Process
In his opening remarks at the peace conference in Madrid, President Bush termed the event a "mission of hope." With the opening of the conference, the Middle East turned an important historical page-- away from the intractability and insolubility of this over 4 decades- old conflict and toward the achievement of genuine, comprehensive peace and reconciliation between Israel and its Arab neighbors through direct dialogue and negotiations. The hope to which the President referred during the opening session of the conference, in fact, turned to reality just 4 days later on November 3 when direct, bilateral negotiations were launched between Israeli delegations and a Jordanian-Palestinian delegation, a Lebanese delegation, and a Syrian delegation. Never before had there been direct, bilateral negotiations between Israel and each of its Arab and Palestinian neighbors, and never again will there be such a taboo against such face-to-face contacts. In his closing press conference in Madrid, Secretary Baker termed these developments a "good start." Indeed it was. For over 12 hours on November 3, Israeli and Arab delegates debated the issues across the table of negotiations. To be sure, the road ahead will not be easy to navigate. Fundamental differences separate the parties, and those differences will be hard fought at the negotiating table. But they will be fought with words and position papers and policy statements, and hopefully no longer with weapons and violence. Mr. Chairman, the road to Madrid was long and difficult. Secretary Baker traveled to the Middle East 8 times between March and October to fulfill the promise of the initiative launched by President Bush last March in his address to a joint session of Congress. Many, many hours were spent in discussion with key Middle East figures--Prime Minister Shamir of Israel, President Assad of Syria, King Hussein of Jordan, President Mubarak of Egypt, President Hrawi of Lebanon, and Palestinians like Faisal Husseini and Hanan Ashrawi--in an effort to understand their concerns, examine the differences between their positions, evolve bridging positions to overcome problems, and develop the terms of reference for the peace conference and negotiations. Enormous political strains were placed on each party by this effort. Persistent efforts were undertaken by extremists to undermine the search for peace by acts of terror and in southern Lebanon. Yet, throughout, Secretary Baker found the parties ready to engage and ready to confront the difficult decisions required to get to the negotiating table. Important and far-reaching agreements among the parties permitted this process to proceed: -- The parties agreed that the goal is a comprehensive peace settlement achieved through direct negotiations based on UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. -- They agreed on two negotiating tracks between Israel and Arab states, and between Israel and Palestinians. -- They agreed that the negotiations between Israel and Palestinians would be conducted in phases, with the initial phase focusing on interim self-government arrangements, and the second phase focusing on a permanent settlement. -- They agreed that the direct negotiations would be launched by a peace conference--co-sponsored by the United States and the Soviet Union--and that the conference would not be able to impose solutions, veto agreements, make decisions, or vote. -- They agreed that Palestinians would participate in a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation, and that Palestinians who participate would be those who accept to negotiate on two tracks and in phases and who accept to live in peace with Israel. -- They agreed to invite the European Community and Egypt to participate alongside the co-sponsors. -- They agreed to invite the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Arab Maghreb Union, and the United Nations to each send an observer to the conference.
Three Crucial Issues
In translating these agreements into a workable peace conference and negotiations, we were also reminded by the parties of the central substantive issues which need to be addressed in order to resolve the conflict. In his remarks to the peace conference, Secretary Baker noted that the parties themselves had identified three critical issues: -- The parties had expressed a yearning for peace, a desire to live in mutually satisfying relationships with neighbors, and to have those relations characterized by peace treaties, diplomatic relations, economic relations, cultural ties, and political dialogue. -- The parties emphasized the importance of land and the desire of peoples to exercise authority and political governance over territories they consider part of their patrimony. -- And the parties stressed the need for security. That is, the requirement that people live free of fear and the obligation of governments to do their best to protect their citizens. Listening to these views expressed by the parties, the Secretary made clear our belief that progress toward a comprehensive settlement on all fronts would be possible only if all the issues were put on the table. This is our assessment of what needs to be done to ensure progress in the negotiations. Mr. Chairman, our upbeat mood after the conference is tempered only by the sober realization that much hard work and difficult procedural and substantive decisions lie ahead. The first issue the parties face is the venue of the bilateral negotiations. Before Madrid, there had not been agreement on where the talks would be held. The parties held different views and still do. As the Secretary made clear in Madrid, we hope the parties can resolve this issue on their own. If they cannot, we stand ready soon to make proposals that will help get the negotiations resumed as quickly as possible. We are also working to ensure a successful start in the multilateral negotiations to which we attach much importance. As you know, the invitation to the conference indicated that those parties who wish to participate should convene to organize multilateral negotiations on such key topics for the peace, security, and prosperity of the region as arms control and regional security, economic development, refugees, water, the environment, and the like. We will begin shortly to consult with parties in the region and outside in order to plan for the organizational meeting of these negotiations. We are gratified that a significant number of regional parties have already stated publicly their intention to participate in these talks.
The Role of the United States
The role of the United States throughout this process will be that of an honest broker, a catalyst for peace, and a driving force to help ensure that negotiations work. Both the President and the Secretary have reiterated their personal commitments to play an active role in helping the process succeed and that we are in it for the long haul. The United States maintains long-standing positions on peace process issues that remain the basis of our own policy. But we also know well from experience that the role of the mediator often benefits as much from the non-articulation of one's own positions, as from their repetition. When needed, we will state our views; and, when needed, we will work quietly with the parties, out of the public view, to help build trust and agreement between them. Mr. Chairman, I would like to add a final word about the most important, and often most neglected facet, of the peace process-- namely, the human dimension. This is a conflict between people. It is a conflict in which people have urgent and basic needs--to live more securely, to live free of fear, to live with dignity, to live in peace. There are practical prescriptions available to meet the urgent needs of the peoples of the Middle East. Each party can and must think about and adopt whatever measures are possible to reach out to peoples on the other side of the conflict. The parties themselves know best which actions would have the greatest impact. They themselves know how important these steps would be for their own constituencies and thus also how important they would be for the other side. They themselves know that the formulas of negotiations will have little meaning if the people of the region lose faith in what must be a process of peace and reconciliation. We offer no specific prescriptions for the parties to follow--either with regard to the substance of the negotiations or to the confidence-building steps that should be adopted by all sides. We do call upon all parties to avoid unilateral acts which might prejudice or even threaten the process, and we share the hope that the same courage which regional leaders have brought to the tough decisions on the peace conference and the start of negotiations will also be applied to the pressing human problems that need to be confronted.
Iraq
Mr. Chairman, concerning the situation in Iraq, the victory of the US- led coalition in Desert Storm reversed Saddam Hussein's aggression against his neighbors. Ever since, the international community has shown its determination to ensure that Iraq complies with all its UN-mandated obligations. We and our coalition partners remain committed to that end. In so doing, we bear no animus toward the Iraqi people who have suffered too long under a brutal regime. They deserve new leadership. President Bush has made it clear that sanctions will continue as long as the ruthless dictator Saddam Hussein remains in power. At the same time, we will continue to broaden our contacts with the Iraqi opposition and to support the emergence of an Iraqi Government representative of Iraq's pluralistic society including the Shi'ites, Sunnis, and Kurds. In fact, on my very first day as Assistant Secretary, I met with a delegation of the Iraqi Kurdistan Front, which included Assyrian, Turcoman, and Kurdish representatives. In summary, and as President Bush has said, we are prepared to work with a successor regime in the interest of the Iraqi people. Sadly, Mr. Chairman, Saddam Hussein continues to try to blame the international sanctions for the continuing suffering of the Iraqi people which he himself has caused. The facts are quite different: First, medicine has never been denied to the Iraqis by the international community, and UN sanctions on food shipments ended in March. While assuring that his clique is provided for, Saddam Hussein is cynically denying food and medicine to the Iraqi people and is trying to fix the blame on the sanctions. Second, the mechanism to help the Iraqi people is in place--all he has to do is use it. He has not done so because the UN-mandated monitoring regime would make it difficult for him to manipulate the flow of food to the Iraqi people. Third, the continuing deprivation in Iraq is the result of Saddam's deliberate refusal to accept UN Resolutions 706 and 712--namely food for oil--and his callous policy of diverting supplies away from those who oppose him. Once again, Saddam Hussein is prepared to sacrifice the Iraqi people for the sake of hanging on to his own, personal power. As we maintain all possible political and economic pressure on this brutal regime, we will work with the international community to meet the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people through implementation of Security Council Resolutions 688, 706, and 712. We are confident, Mr. Chairman, that Saddam's attempt will fail. He miscalculated the will of the international community over his invasion of Kuwait. If he thinks he can fool the world with a shell game with food and medicine, he will have miscalculated badly, once again.

Middle East Peace Process: US Invites Parties to Bilateral Talks in Washington

[Statement by Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler, Washington, DC, November 22, 1991.] Today, after waiting 3 weeks for the parties directly involved in the Middle East peace talks to work out among themselves the question of venue for additional bilateral talks, we proposed that the parties meet here in Washington on December 4 for the next round. It is important to give the parties the chance to work this out, but it is even more important to resume the direct talks. We want to make clear the view of the United States that, over time, there is no reason to exclude holding negotiations in the region. Many successful talks have been held in the region in the past, and a regional venue would allow close proximity for the negotiators to consult with their respective political leaderships.

Update on Middle East Peace Talks

[Statement by Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler, Washington, DC, December 3, 1991.] The Soviet Union and the United States, as co-sponsors of the process launched in Madrid, have agreed to convene a meeting at the level of ministers in Moscow on January 28 to 29, 1992, for the purpose of organizing multilateral negotiations on issues of regional concern. The co-sponsors hope for the widest possible participation from among the parties in the region and other interested parties, believing that the multilateral negotiations can serve as a positive influence on and complement to the critical bilateral negotiations aimed at achieving a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace settlement. In the period ahead, the co-sponsors will consult with a wide range of parties to help ensure that the negotiations get off to a productive start.

President Bush Meets Israeli Foreign Minister

[Statement by White House Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater, Washington, DC, December 17,1991.] The President met today for approximately 20 minutes in the Oval Office with Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy. Their discussion centered mainly on the UN General Assembly's revocation of the Zionism is Racism determination and on the Middle East peace process. The President expressed his satisfaction with the repeal, calling it a responsible action on the part of the UN. The President emphasized the importance of not allowing procedural concerns to dominate the peace talks and of seizing this historic opportunity for peace.

Statements on the Middle East Peace Process

March 10, 1991 En route from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to Cairo, Egypt
[News conference by Secretary Baker.]
Secretary Baker:
Let me say that I think we've had a good series of meetings today, particularly the meeting with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) foreign ministers, the Foreign Minister of Egypt, and myself. After that, I had separate bilaterals with the ministers from Syria and from Egypt, and before the plenary meeting, I had separate bilaterals with each of the GCC foreign ministers. I know you are interested in the peace process, so let me say a word or two about that, and then I'll try and respond to your questions. First of all, as you know, we have been trying to work a two-track approach. I've been exploring with our Arab coalition partners what steps they might be able to take to signal their commitment to peace and reconciliation with Israel. Before this trip began, we had communicated to Israel the general outlines of our two-track approach, and I am now going to have the opportunity, when we get to Israel, to talk in detail and specifically with their leadership about what steps they might be willing to consider. Let me say, I am not going to go into the specific steps now because we are still exploring that. We still have a long way to go. It is very, very early. We are trying to get a process going, and I would simply say that I have a sense that even though it is early, there is a greater willingness to be active on this issue in the aftermath of the Gulf crisis than there was before. Q: Reading the statement tonight, both the Arab portion of it and the latter part, there doesn't appear to be anything here on the track of direct contacts with Israel, state to state. It all refers to the Palestinian issue, and I ask you--also, I should tell you that in the public statement of the ministers today, there was no indication of a willingness to go on that track. We have been told over and over again, this is a two-track process. Did you hear anything in private that would dissuade us from the view that the Arab foreign ministers and Gulf ministers were only talking about one track?
Secretary Baker:
Well, we talked at length about two tracks, and I made it very clear, at a very early stage in what we hope will be a process, we have not as yet even arrived in Israel. We have not had detailed discussions with the Israeli government about what steps they might be willing to consider and so, therefore, I don't think it is surprising that you don't have Arab governments coming out and unilaterally making statements about steps that they would be willing to take in the absence of knowing a little bit more about what might develop as the process moves forward. Q: You still are not really saying though whether the two-track approach is still alive and the second half of the question is in your statement: You say that the United States plans to signal peace and reconciliation to Israel. Is there any signal here beyond their traditional approach?
Secretary Baker:
Well, you read the language. The wording you just read sounds to me like it's like a signal. In terms of whether it's still alive, let me simply say that it was only born very, very recently, so please don't declare it dead until it's actually dead. I happen to think that it's at least alive until we explore the concept and the possibilities with the leadership of Israel. Let me say that I think that the Arab governments with whom we talked generally about this today exhibited, as I have just indicated to you, a greater willingness to be active than they had in the past or than they did before the Gulf crisis was resolved, and I would interpret that to be a willingness to be active along both tracks, assuming it is a process that is embraced by others, including, most importantly, Israel. Q: Did the Arab states with whom you met today give you specific concrete things they are willing to do, assuming that there is reciprocity of some sort on the part of the Israelis?
Secretary Baker:
We are not at that point. I did not ask them to commit themselves in the absence of knowing what might or might not be possible on the other side of the equation. What I asked them to do was to simply consider the possibility of participating in this process and developing, in due course, some specific steps that they would be willing to consider taking if there was a willingness expressed on the part of the government of Israel. Q: Have you gotten any response back from your offer to meet with Palestinians when you're in Israel? And, there's a second part to that--as you go into Israel, there are new reports of the Israelis shooting and wounding Arabs after a disturbance--it seems that there's quite a lot of violence. What kind of signal does that send to you as you embark on a peace process?
Secretary Baker:
Well, obviously we have expressed our deep concern about violence in the past. I don't know the circumstances of the incident that you're talking about, so I don't want to comment beyond saying what I just said. With respect to the question of meeting with the Palestinians, it's my understanding that we have received some indication very recently that there was an interest on the part of some Palestinians in meeting with us, and, as far as I know, they're still working that question; I don't have a final answer for you. Q: Their statement seems to suggest that they did not support all of what President Bush had to say the other night although some participants said they did. Can you tell us whether they supported everything the President said on the issue of Arab-Israeli peace in the speech?
Secretary Baker:
I don't know--we did not sit down and go line-by-line through the President's speech, nor for that matter his interview with--the recent interview he had, I don't remember who the three journalists were. But in their general comments they were very supportive of the President's speech and conveyed their overall general agreement, I think, with the thrust of what he had to say. Q: Then I just want to add--can you tell me what it is you see in this statement that gives you the optimism or the hope that you expressed earlier about their willingness to be more forthcoming and change their view?
Secretary Baker:
I didn't suggest to you that my optimism- -don't by the way, don't make me overly optimistic, because I don't mean to be--but whatever sense I have there of a greater willingness to be active derives not just from that formal statement that's been put out. Q: Can you talk in a little more detail about the Gulf security structure? What kind of role are we going to have, what kind of role would they like us to have, what are your concerns about Iran, and how are we going to get 537,000 troops home?
Secretary Baker:
On the last question, I'm not going to get into that because that's basically an operational matter that the Defense Department could better answer for you, except to say that the President continues to make it clear that he wants to bring all of our forces home at the earliest possible opportunity. He continues to make the point that we do not desire a permanent ground presence in the Gulf, a fact that has been communicated in the meetings that I've had with all of these representatives--all of the governments that I've met with here--and one that I feel comfortable telling you that they not only accept but agree with. With respect to the security structure, let me say that we're talking about various levels. We're talking about an enhanced GCC. We're talking about an Arab force much as was indicated by the Damascus communique of these very countries that I've just met with that would be, in addition to GCC forces, would contain Egyptian and Syrian elements. We are talking about a role for the United Nations in terms of observers, particularly with respect to the Iraq-Kuwait border. We are talking about as well the possibility that the United States--not the possibility but the probability--that the United States will continue its naval presence in the Gulf which it has maintained for over 40 years, perhaps enhanced. We will be discussing with some countries in the Gulf the pre-positioning of equipment. We will be discussing as well, joint participation in training exercises and things like that.
March 11, 1991 Jerusalem
News conference by Secretary Baker and Foreign Minister Levy. Q: Mr. Secretary, either in your talks tonight or in your meeting tomorrow with Prime Minister Shamir, have you or will you ask Israel to commit itself in principle to trading land for peace?
Secretary Baker:
I have not asked that during the course of the discussions tonight with David Levy. I don't think it comes as any surprise to all to know that the US policy position calls for a comprehensive settlement based on direct negotiations on the basis of [UN Resolutions] 242 and 338. And of course, President Bush made specific reference to this policy position in his address to the Congress several nights ago. Let me say that I do not come to Israel, to the region, with any specific, particular blueprint with regard to peace. But I do come with ideas. I come with a desire and a willingness to explore ideas that might be generated by others. I have corresponded with the minister about the importance of our developing ideas that might lead to peace. I told the minister and his colleagues this evening that I think that there are great opportunities in the aftermath of the recently concluded war; that I think the time is now for us to try and seize the moment to try and take advantage of these opportunities; that I sensed during my 2 days in Riyadh the beginnings of perhaps a bit of a different attitude on the part of some countries; that we would like to pursue the possibilities of peace on a dual track--moving in parallel on the track of Arab state-Israeli relations and on the path of Israeli- Palestinian relations, dialogue, and so forth. Q: Mr. Secretary, when your Administration speaks of political rights for the Palestinians, do you mean self-determination or do you consider self-rule, autonomy in the territories, as political rights?
Secretary Baker:
Well, I think that discussions of self- government fall within the definition of political rights. I think that the term is one that needs further definition and is subject to further definition, and perhaps further definition through direct negotiation between the parties. Q: Mr. Secretary, you spoke of what you sensed in Riyadh which sounds not quite concrete. Did you hear real, specific words from any specific Arab leaders of any specific step they're prepared to take to accept Israel, or do you just find a sort of an atmosphere that you find conducive to pursuing this mission? And secondly--
Secretary Baker:
Let me answer the first question first, because I'll forget it by the time you ask your third question, so-- Let me elaborate on that by saying that on this trip, so far, I have seen what I consider to be at least signs of new thinking. I have seen what I consider to be a willingness to consider new approaches. I think that whether that ripens and materializes into specific, concrete commitments will depend in large part upon whether or not there is a similar attitude coming from the other side of the equation. And we hope very much that there will be. I have heard from others that the United States as a consequence of this recently concluded war has acquired an even greater credibility than it had before with Arabs and with Israel; I hope that's true. I don't assume it. And I hope when I say that, that it is understood that I do so without arrogance or without any sort of hubris. But I do want to say that it is the firm hope and desire and wish of my government, of my president, that we will not let what could be a historic opportunity pass for want of a willingness to commit ourselves to do the real, hard work of peace. Q: Mr. Secretary, I'll change my follow-up then, based on what you've just said. Then you spoke of looking for an attitude here. Is it correct then that here, too, you're not soliciting specific moves, specific actions from this government--you're trying to solicit some disposition, some attitude, some sense of giving to equate the sense of giving you found on the other side?
Secretary Baker:
That's a pretty good way to express it, I think. I'm encouraged by what I think was a very positive meeting that David and I have just concluded, together with our colleagues. Of course let me say that this war was only recently concluded. We are dealing here--talking about--an issue that is extraordinarily intractable, has proven to be so for many, many years. It will take a great deal of work and a great deal of goodwill, and a great deal of good faith on the part of all. The United States is committed to working just as hard as it knows how to contribute to the process. It is our view that we hopefully can serve as a catalyst, but we cannot impose peace. We would not try if we thought we could. We do not intend to engage in what some have referred to as pressure. We intend to reason, to cajole, to plead, and to offer our good offices to see if we can seize this opportunity and make progress for peace. Q: Mr. Baker, you are interested in the Palestinian-Israeli dialogue. There are Palestinians who are facing major problems in the occupied territories, both in the sense that political discourse is not allowed--it is illegal to have any kind of political meetings--and economic problems are very difficult with more than 120,000 people out of work. Will you nudge or cajole or plead with the Israelis to legitimize political discourse, including legitimizing support or sympathy with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)?
Secretary Baker:
Including what? Q: Would you encourage them to legitimize political discourse, including sympathy or support or membership of the PLO, which is illegal now? And secondly, would you encourage them to ease the economic strain on the Palestinians in the occupied territories?
Secretary Baker:
Certainly we would like to see the economic strain and burden eased. Certainly we could like to see-- being people who believe as strongly as we believe in democracy and knowing that Israel is the only real democracy now in the region-- we would like to see freedom of expression; we would like to see democratic principles permitted to flourish. We have our problems with the PLO, as you know. We used to have a dialogue with the PLO. That dialogue is terminated. We think the PLO made a substantial error in supporting Saddam Hussein in his brutal invasion and suppression of an Arab nation.
Foreign Minister Levy:
[Remarks as translated.] With your permission I would like to add to the question which was put to you here. Israel aspires to see to it that the Arab population in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza may have the benefit of the freedom, of true freedom, which Israel only has in this part of the world. In other words, we would like to enable this population to improve its economic situation, just as Israel makes it possible for the Arab population to do. All of these aspirations can be realized. This can be done and the affairs of the population can be managed by the population itself. Israel has proposed this, and continues to do so, provided of course, the population we are referring to behaves in keeping with what such an approach would require. When this population is incited to lash out against Israel, to wreak destruction, to kill people, to commit murders, as you saw with your own eyes just yesterday in that heinous and barbarous act, the slaughter of women, innocent women without protection, in a manner which is unspeakable, and in fact cannot even be compared with what an animal would do because no animal would commit such a murder. When such a population then is incited to such deeds, and to murder of fellow Arabs as well--in fact 500 men and women were killed in this manner, barbarously--when anyone thinks that on the one hand such tactics can be adopted, terrorist tactics coupled with destruction, while on the other hand benefiting from full rights--this does not even exist in the world to come. It simply cannot be. So that Israel cannot but adopt measures designed to protect its own security and the security of its population. Our desire is to see a different era open--an era in which this population no longer follows the incitement of these terrorists, of these wreakers of destruction who have led them into an impasse-- who have led the population into a road which spells no hope. If, indeed, they decide to follow the course of peace, and we do, indeed, offer the course of peace to them--we strive for peace--and we have reiterated this point--we have repeatedly reiterated the peace initiative of the government of Israel in 1989. If they are responsive to this, they will discover that Israel is at the forefront of those who have offered this population the possibility of taking part in determining their own fate. No one proposed this before Israel did--no one, not the British, certainly not the Jordanians, and we are in fact interested in resolving the problem. We will not give in. We will not be brought to our knees by terrorism. We will stand firm. We will stand up to any attempt to lash out against our citizens, and against that population itself, while at the same time holding out our hand to them, offering them freedoms and liberties and the possibility of managing their own affairs--the affairs of the population--sitting around the same table and discussing this peacefully, not in a manner which is marked by murder and destruction. Therefore, the option is open to this population--the option to choose to respond to this population--the option to choose to respond to this initiative at long last. It is time that this came to pass, just as my friend, the Secretary of State Mr. Baker said, we find ourselves following two parallel courses--two lines of action- -both of which offer a definite hope of making progress toward peace. As far as Israel is concerned, peace is the greatest victory of all. To date, there was a refusal among the Arab states to talk face- to-face with Israel about peace. I am pleased that they are beginning to show signs of change, and we will have to work together, patiently and courageously, with a sense of faith and hope in order to move toward the goal which is best for all of us--peace in this region. Q: Mr. Foreign Minister, are you speaking of the beginning of a change on the Arab side? From the standpoint of Israel have you drawn encouragement from anything Mr. Baker told you about positions expressed by the Arab states where he visited? Is there any change which shows a direction toward Israel? A move to Israel?
Foreign Minister Levy:
The discussions which we had this evening first of all from the standpoint of both nations, were frank ones, open ones, and constructive ones. We share a common interest--the United States and Israel. The United States in this regard does not have any interest which runs counter to the need to coordinate with Israel and to agree with Israel on the measures being taken, and we appreciate this deeply. What we have heard--and we will, of course, keep discussing this and working on this--certainly shows encouraging signs which we did not see until now. If we do succeed in continuing to cooperate in reinforcing this direction, we will together succeed, with the nations of this region, in coming closer to those goals which seemed so far away until recently. We will have to continue working in that direction, but we are closer than we were just yesterday. Q: Mr. Secretary, did you hear any new thinking tonight from Foreign Minister Levy, and do you think that if what Israel offers is the May 1989 Shamir plan, that that will be sufficient for the Arab states-- that that will be sufficient political cover for them--to then go ahead with some of the measures you've been talking about with them?
Secretary Baker:
Let me say, I think it's important to recognize that all parties should avoid retreating into stating final positions as being non-negotiable demands. We should move--if I can borrow a phrase--to new thinking and away from old thinking. As I mentioned, the sense I got on my trip was that there is a chance for new thinking. I think you just heard the minister say he was somewhat encouraged by what he heard, and maybe we have a chance now for some new thinking in both directions. It is not--we will not make progress on either track frankly, either, if one side or the other says we do not move until after the other side moves. And I did not detect that attitude or position here tonight. And so to answer your question, I remain cautiously optimistic that maybe we can capitalize on what has been a very significant event in the region, and in the aftermath of this war, maybe we can begin to grapple with this issue--these issues--and move toward peace, which is the best guarantee of security for the region. Q: Would you just answer my question on the May 1989 plan?
Secretary Baker:
The May 1989 plan--I expressed to the minister our pleasure that the government of Israel--that the cabinet of the government of Israel--reconfirmed that plan. As you know, we worked very hard for a period of 14 months to implement that proposal; came very, very close; we didn't quite make it at the last minute, but there are many features, and many elements of that proposal that we view very favorably. We think there are elements of that proposal with which the parties can work. Q: Mr. Secretary, I'm wondering if you feel on this trip, that not enough of the flexibility that you mentioned is expressed. I wanted to know what is the commitment of this Administration to keep coming back to the region and keep trying it again and again, or is this like take or leave it--I mean this is an exploratory visit--are we in a take it or leave it situation if the parties don't do enough for throwing up our hands. That's one point, and the second question is, can you tell us--
Secretary Baker:
Let me answer the first one, then you ask the second one, OK? We are certainly not in a take it or leave it. As I just said, we do not come with a particular, specific blueprint. We come with some ideas. We hope we'll hear some ideas. I think we've heard some ideas in the first couple of days. I believe we've heard some ideas here this evening. We cannot impose peace. There will not be peace in the region unless the parties themselves conclude that they want peace and are willing to do the hard, nitty-gritty work that's involved in getting there. For our part, the United States is willing to do the hard, nitty-gritty, repetitive work that will clearly be involved if we're going to make progress on this very, very difficult problem. Q: The support that this Administration has shown until now for Soviet Jewish immigration is known here, and I was wondering if you could say definitively that any future assistance, be it in housing guarantees or other forms of assistance, would be totally unlinked to progress in the peace process or totally divorced from any movement that you have been speaking of?
Secretary Baker:
We have not linked aid to progress on the peace process, and I told the minister tonight that there's one thing of which he and the government of Israel should be very, very sure, and that is that the commitment of the United States to the security of Israel is firm. That will not change; that will not waiver. We are willing to work very, very hard. We think and hope that we can serve as a catalyst, and particularly in the aftermath of what has just taken place in connection with this war.
March 14, 1991 Damascus, Syria
[News conference by Secretary Baker and Foreign Minister Shara.]
Secretary Baker:
I will start by telling you that in the meeting last night with President Assad and Minister Shara, we covered a number of different topics and subjects. Of course, we discussed in detail the four broad issue areas that I have been discussing during the course of my trip in the region, and I will continue to discuss as we move on now to Moscow. Those four issue areas being regional security in the Gulf, arms control and proliferation, economic cooperation, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. We also talked about hostages; we talked about Lebanon and the importance of implementing in both letter and spirit the Taif agreement. We talked, as well, about terrorism. With respect to the question of the Arab-Israeli conflict, I think that the minister would agree with me that we find ourselves in agreement with respect to sharing a commitment to seek a comprehensive settlement based on UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. We find ourselves in agreement with respect to the fact that there is, we think, a window of opportunity now in the aftermath of the Gulf crisis that should be seized, if at all possible- -a window of opportunity which could make it possible for us to make significant progress in resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. I sense a very serious intent on the part of the Syrian government to pursue an active peace process and to continue to work toward that end with the coalition countries that worked together to reverse Saddam Hussein's aggression. Q: Mr. Secretary, after the Gulf crisis has ended, now there is determination by the international community to implement UN resolutions regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict, as the Italian foreign minister said here a few days ago, that there should be no double standard in dealing with this issue. What are you going to do as the United States on this respect?
Secretary Baker:
I agree that there should be no double standard, and I would submit to you that, indeed, there is not. The United States, as evidenced by the activity in which I have been engaged over the past 4 or 5 days, is going to be very vigorous in attempting to use whatever influence and good offices it might have to pursue a comprehensive settlement based on those UN Resolutions, 242 and 338. Q: Mr. Secretary, after Saudi Arabia, you said you had heard "new thinking" from some of the Arab leaders you had met with on the peace process. After talks here, you said you are leaving with a sense that the Syrians want to proceed with things. But, do you have a sense of new thinking here by the Syrian government on how to break the deadlock in the Arab-Israeli conflict?
Secretary Baker:
I have a sense, as I have just mentioned, that the Syrian government agrees with the US government and other governments that there is now a window of opportunity--that we should all be very active in trying to capitalize on that. But, that's not to say that we don't all realize the difficulties of this problem. It is very intractable. It has been there a long, long time, and I sense a desire, frankly, on the part of the Syrian government to pursue an active peace process and an active role in that process. That sense is pretty much the same as the sense that I had in the meeting in Riyadh with the eight Arab countries that formed part of the coalition that fought the Gulf war. Q: Minister Shara, is there any change on the hostage situation? Do you see any progress with the release, the freedom for the Dawa prisoners? Does that change the situation? Have you had any recent talks that might indicate that that problem would be set behind? Minister Shara?
Minister Shara:
What was our question, please? Q: On the hostages, sir, have our--had any recent information that would suggest that there might be progress toward freedom for all Western hostages, particularly now that the Dawa prisoners no longer are being held?
Minister Shara:
Well, we have the feeling that the hostage issue has to be resolved, and we would exert maximum effort to help in securing the release of all the foreign hostages in Lebanon, and we are not pessimistic that this will happen. Q: Mr. Secretary, are you satisfied with Syrian progress on the issue of terrorism, or do you still feel it is necessary for Syria to do more to be removed from the terrorist list?
Secretary Baker:
We still have some differences on this issue, differences that we discussed last night. We would like to resolve this problem, and I am confident that the Syrian government would like to resolve the problem. I do believe that there has, as I said in Washington, that there has been progress. We hope that there can be some further progress, and we intend to continue the dialogue which we have had on this issue to see if we can make further progress.
Minister Shara:
Let me try and add to, or just to clarify what Secretary Baker has said. Well, the difference on terrorism is not on our joint desire and will to combat terrorism, but the difference is on the definition of terrorism--what is terrorism and what is not terrorism. Q: Mr. Secretary, what if Israel refused to implement Security Council resolutions concerning the Middle East crisis, and what would be the US position toward--particularly after Mr. Bush said that we are going for peace with the same force as we went for the war?
Secretary Baker:
Well, I don't think we ought to assume that countries, particularly countries that are directly involved, will not be participating actively in the search for peace during this window of opportunity that has been presented. I am quite confident that they will be. The sense that I got from my trip to Israel of a day or so ago was that that government shares a strong desire for peace and so I can't accept the hypothesis of your question. But let me say that the President was very clear in the statement that he made to the US Congress, and I had just said it again here today that the US policy position is that we support and will actively work for a comprehensive settlement based on 242 and 338. Q: Mr. Secretary, can you please tell me why the United States has not dealt with or talked with the Iraqi opposition which has just been meeting in Beirut, even though the Turks have and the British have? Are we, are your people authorized to talk with the Iraqi opposition that is [inaudible] together?
Secretary Baker:
The question of what government Iraq ends up with in the aftermath of this crisis is a matter for, and we have said, for the Iraqi people to determine. Now, I don't want to comment any further beyond saying that. Q: Mr. Secretary, is Syria still receiving missiles from North Korea, and, Mr. Secretary, did this come up in your talks?
Secretary Baker:
There is, in our opinion, there has been recently a delivery of Scud missiles to Syria. We discussed at quite some length the importance of addressing the question of weapons of mass destruction and the instruments of delivery, therefore. I thought I'd make that clear. Q: Minister Shara, would you comment on that question, please? Why is Syria continuing to seek additional supplies of those types of weapons against which Syria fought so recently with Iraq?
Foreign Minister Shara:
Well, Syria is still in a state of war with Israel, and Israel has so many missiles and so many different types of mass destruction weapons. Yes, a just and comprehensive peace would solve all these problems. We aspire, of course, to see our region free of all mass destruction weapons. Q: Mr. Secretary, don't you find it significant that countries that subscribe to 242 and 338 on the record in the Security Council in 1967 and 1973 are talking to you about 242 and 338? What has progressed here? Israel, Syria, they all agreed on the UN resolutions. Is there some new interpretation of it? Did you find a new sense of willingness to go further? What is it that makes it significant?
Secretary Baker:
I think that what makes the situation perhaps significant today, and as I've made very clear as we left on this trip, we are dealing with perhaps the most intractable problem I think that there is, and we ought not to let expectations get out of control. This is very early in the process of trying to address this problem in the aftermath of the war, and what is significant is that there has been a change in the region as a consequence of what has happened in the Gulf, and I think that all countries involved on all sides really want to try to seize this opportunity, if possible, to make progress. It's going to take that kind of an attitude if there is going to be peace in the region. I want to say one more time that the United States sees its role as that of a catalyst. We believe there is some enhanced credibility here as a consequence of what has happened in the Gulf. We say that with a total absence of arrogance, as I pointed out in Israel. But, nobody can impose peace in the Middle East, if the parties to the conflict don't really want real, true reconciliation. And I think, in the aftermath of this Gulf war, that there is a better chance than there has been before that the parties will want real reconciliation. Q: You say better chance, but are you ready to say--you've met with the foreign ministers of nine Arab countries, only one of which has accepted Israel. Can you, as you end this trip, say there are others that now will accept Israel, or do you sense--
Secretary Baker:
I don't understand the question-- Q: Well, there's only one Arab country at peace with Israel--
Secretary Baker:
There is one Arab country at peace with Israel, and we need to move the process forward so that there is a complete peace between Arabs and Israelis, and you've got to take it a step at a time. You have to crawl before you walk, and you have to walk before you run, and we've been at it for maybe 5 or 6 days, and it's a little bit premature to be, it seems to me, suggesting that somehow there is no opportunity here because we haven't had instant peace. Let's work at this. This is extraordinarily difficult, and I think, if I can say this, I think it's reasonably significant that the Foreign Minister of Israel made the statement that he made in the aftermath of our visit there, that the Prime Minister said what he said. I think it's reasonably significant that you find the degree of agreement that exists here between the United States and Syria on approaching this issue and between the United States and eight Arab countries. Now, maybe you don't think that's progress, and maybe it isn't. Maybe the wheels will come off tomorrow. Let's give it a chance. We're not going to get there if we're not willing to work at it--the United States is willing to work at it, and see if we can serve as a catalyst to peace. Q: [Inaudible]--that you are going to use your influence and your good offices with Israel, do you think this will work?
Secretary Baker:
Well, I hope so. We certainly believe that we, as a strong ally of Israel through the years, should have the ability at least to reason with Israel, help Israel to understand-- which I think they probably already understand--nobody benefits more from true reconciliation and true peace than does Israel. Q: Since you saw Prime Minister Shamir, could you tell us whether or not you saw any evidence of new thinking on the Prime Minister's part?
Secretary Baker:
Well, I think you heard what the Prime Minister's press spokesman said in the aftermath of our meeting, and I really do believe that the Prime Minister is willing to, again, work actively in the aftermath of this crisis to seek peace. Q: [Inaudible]--that showed that there was perhaps more convergence than you've seen before?
Secretary Baker:
I'm not going to get into the specifics and the details. It's premature to do that. I think that the government of Israel is strongly interested in moving rapidly and actively toward peace. I certainly hope that's the case. I hope that's the case with the Arab parties to the conflict. Q: You seem to have better relations with the Arab governments in the region as a consequence after the war, but what about the people in the Arab countries, considering that most of the governments aren't democratically elected--surely the government might have better relations but the people--[inaudible].
Secretary Baker:
That was a question that was asked on August 3, if you recall: the region was going to go up into flames, that things were going to totally fall apart on the street. It didn't happen, did it? It didn't happen to anywhere near the extent or degree that was predicted. And I certainly don't think that it's going to happen in the aftermath of a successful stand against aggression by eight Arab countries and a coalition of other countries around the world. Q: Just by definition, do you think that there is a difference between Iraq's occupation of Kuwait and Israel's occupation of the Syrian and Palestinian lands [inaudible].
Secretary Baker:
Do I see a difference there? I see a difference there. I see a difference in how it came about, certainly.
Foreign Minister Shara:
I will comment on that question. I don't think that Secretary Baker is talking about the significance and the importance of using one standard, that is the UN Security Council resolutions which will resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. I think he means the difference in the way that things are taking place, but the substance we are in full agreement that international [inaudible] and UN Security Council resolutions have to be abided by and to be implemented [inaudible]. And the Palestinian question, I can say that this double standard should not only be used and we are optimistic [inaudible]--that's why we are optimistic for the future. That's why we see a window of optimism and hope to give the momentum to the peace process in our region. Q: This window of opportunity you're talking about, does that have a limit; is there a deadline since we have to think ahead toward the next election cycle?
Secretary Baker:
We really don't know the answer to that. We don't know. We don't know how long the window might be open, and that's all the more reason why we think we ought to all work as actively as we can to try and take advantage of whatever time there is. We don't know. Q: You don't have a time set?
Secretary Baker:
We don't know.
Foreign Minister Shara:
Let me just say a couple of words- -that the visit of Secretary Baker to Damascus and the talks that he held yesterday with President Hafez al-Assad and myself were positive and constructive, and they will help all of us to work actively for a just and comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian question. We are optimistic that this opportunity will be utilized in the proper manner, and we don't like to see the first Gulf crisis era as the same era in the past. That's why we will keep contacts, and there was agreement on keeping in touch and keeping these contacts in order to give a momentum to the peace process for the months to come.
April 25, 1991 Kislovodsk, USSR
[Excerpts from a news conference by Secretary Baker and Soviet Foreign Minister Bessmertnykh.]
Secretary Baker:
Ladies and gentlemen, let me begin by expressing my great appreciation to the Minister and his colleagues for seeing us here on such short notice and making arrangements for us to come here from Damascus. We have had an opportunity to cover in quite some detail the discussions that I have been having in the region, and I have had an opportunity to bring the Minister even more up to date than I have been able to do through written communications and telephone conversations over the course of the past 2 or 3 weeks. We have the prospect before us of continuing our joint efforts to craft a process that might lead to peace in the Middle East. We have the opportunity as we look forward now to continue efforts to jointly convene a peace conference that could operate on two tracks and bring into direct negotiations Israelis and Palestinians and could, as well, bring about direct negotiations between Israel and their Arab neighbors. There are still a number of issues that will have to be resolved. We have discussed those in quite a bit of detail. The Minister was able to fill me in on some of the discussions that he has had with representatives from interest groups in countries in the region, and we will continue to work in the days ahead to craft this process--to create this process in the hopes that we might move toward peace in the Middle East.
May 16, 1991 Tel Aviv, Israel
[Excerpts from a news conference by Secretary Baker and Foreign Minister Levy.]
Minister Levy:
. . . We discussed various ideas and the elements which are part of this initiative. We devoted considerable time to several notions which will undoubtedly help us progress toward this goal. We are pleased with the progress, and we support your efforts to continue along the lines of the effort you have assumed responsibility for. Whatever we do for the sake of promoting these understandings was done in an atmosphere that was sometimes not all that good, but now I am pleased that progress is being made toward shared understandings among all of us. We were in need of a great deal of patience and perseverance, and in both these regards I believe that our determination proved very evident. Now what is needed for the Arab states is to prove their determination and their aspiration for a meeting which will involve direct negotiations in the interest of solving a conflict which has been long and brutal. True, there are other issues to be dealt with still, but do not think that the difficulties are immense as it may seem. As you yourself said, we have made a great deal of progress, more than what still lies ahead. Q: Mr. Secretary, if we take Israel at its word, that it feels the United Nations will show bias at a peace conference, what can the United States do to allay these fears, so things can get moving already?
Secretary Baker:
Well, I think one thing that could be done is to make it clear, as we have in our discussions with all countries, including Israel, that a peace conference would not be convened with the authority to impose solutions or to veto results or to command the parties. That is not the purpose of the conference we have in mind. The purpose of the conference we have in mind is to launch direct negotiations between the parties. And I might say that this understanding of the role of the conference is shared as far as I can determine by all the countries with whom I have discussed the matter.
July 18, 1991 Damascus, Syria
[Excerpts from a news conference by Secretary Baker and Foreign Minister Shara.]
Secretary Baker:
. . . I am pleased to report that Syria has agreed to the proposals that we have made, including coming to a peace conference, the terms of reference of which would be a comprehensive settlement based on Resolutions 242 and 338. I think that this is an extraordinarily important and positive step. It gives us something to work with, and we are going to try and build on it throughout this trip in an effort to promote the cause of peace.
Minister Shara:
I agree with Secretary Baker. The meeting was good with President Assad. There was no difficulty having agreement on the contents of President Bush's letter to President Assad and the positive response President Assad made to the American proposals--these proposals, which are based on UN Resolutions 242 and 338 and the principles of international legitimacy. Q: . . . Could you describe to us exactly what kind of a UN presence has Syria approved, and what have you approved? Are you in agreement with Syria?
Secretary Baker:
Yes, we are in agreement, and there are a number of elements here relating to the UN. Perhaps the most important is that, as I've just mentioned, the terms of reference of this conference and of the negotiations that will follow--and this would be reflected in any invitation issued--would be for the purpose of seeking a comprehensive settlement based on UN Resolutions 242 and 338. In addition to that, of course, as you know there would be in attendance a UN observer, perhaps as a representative from the Secretary General. Q: But the point being, would he be a participant?
Secretary Baker:
The representative would be an observer- -not a co-sponsor--and he would be in our view--the role that he would perform would be similar to that performed by the Secretary General's representative at the conference in Cairo in 1977, and it would be a role not unlike the role that observers perform in other multilateral gatherings from time to time. Q: Will he be able to speak, contribute, participate, offer suggestions?
Secretary Baker:
The observer will be there as a representative of the Secretary General. He will be able to take notes. He will be able, of course, to communicate with the participants and with the sponsors, but he will be an observer. That is the proposal that we have made, and that is the proposal that President Assad has agreed with.
Secretary Baker:
. . . Now with respect to the question of secret assurances, let me say that from the very beginning of my efforts on Middle East peace, I have made it clear that there would be no assurances given to any one party that are not made known to the others. That's the approach we took in our prior effort, and that's the approach we are following in this effort, and we will not be making and giving secret assurances that will not be shared with other parties.
July 19, 1991 Alexandria, Egypt
[Excerpts from a news conference by Secretary Baker and President Mubarak of Egypt.]
President Mubarak:
. . . What worries me is the building of the new settlements on the occupied territories. I think and I believe if Israel could suspend building the settlements on the occupied territories, I believe that the Arab states should take a reciprocal step by suspending the boycotting. These steps could pave the way for much more progress in the peace process. I am very pleased again to discuss with the Secretary so many issues and mainly the problem of the Middle East. The United States is making big efforts, and all of us hope that we could reach a comprehensive settlement so as peace could prevail in this area which has stayed for more than 50 years now. And if peace prevails, it is my personal opinion, Israel will be the biggest winner in the whole area.
Secretary Baker:
Let me simply say, Mr. President, that I'm very pleased to have the opportunity to be here with you and to meet with you and to meet with the Minister. We are going to, as I said last night in Damascus, we are going to continue to work very hard to create a process that could lead us toward the goal of peace in the Middle East. And let me say with respect to the statement that you just made respecting reciprocal steps, that is suspension of the Arab boycott of Israel in exchange in effect for suspension by Israel of settlement activity in the occupied territories, I think if steps like that could be taken, clearly it would evidence, I think, a mutual desire to improve the climate for negotiations--negotiations, of course, between Israel and her Arab neighbors and between Israel and Palestinians, which are the follow-on objectives of the peace conference that we have been seeking to arrange. . . .
July 20, 1991 Cairo, Egypt
[Excerpts from a news conference by Secretary Baker and Lebanese Foreign Minister Bouez.] Q: . . . What kind of message are you trying to build up for the Israelis before you arrive there?
Secretary Baker:
Well, I would hope that we would be able to convince the Israelis that there are Arab states that are now ready for direct face-to-face discussions with Israel. As you know, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states indicated they were ready to do this in a multilateral context during the course of our last trip here. Now I hope and believe there will be other Arab states that are willing to do it in a bilateral context and specifically to talk about the political issue of peace. This is something that I think a lot of people have wanted for a long, long time, and I hope that I would be in a position to assure Israel that that is the position of some Arab governments. We haven't had a chance yet to talk about that here with the Minister, but that's one of the things that we will be talking about because as you know the conference we are trying to arrange would serve to launch direct bilateral discussions between Israel and Palestinians but also between Israel and her Arab neighbors. Q: Mr. Minister, are you prepared for bilateral talks with Israel in the context of a peace conference?
Minister Bouez:
We think Lebanon will work positively with this peace process, and at the same time, Lebanon will be with the other countries in the same position with new negotiations with Israel.
July 21, 1991 Amman, Jordan
[Excerpts from a news conference by Secretary Baker and King Hussein of Jordan.]
Secretary Baker:
. . . Within recent days, we have seen a number of countries come forward and basically say that they are prepared to attend a conference on the basis of the American proposals. That's very heartening to us, and we hope that that will generate even further movement. And, let me take this occasion to thank His Majesty for his statement . . . for both statements. One, that he will by all means attend the conference. That Jordan will be in attendance at the conference on the basis which we have suggested. And, that he would support the initiative suggested by President Mubarak. . . . Q: No one is talking about direct talks. Everyone is talking about the conference, comprehensive solution.
Secretary Baker:
. . . The purpose of this conference would be to launch direct bilateral negotiations between Israel and Palestinians on the one hand and Israel and her Arab neighbors on the other. So, the willingness of countries to attend the conference, clearly, I think, connotes a willingness to attend on the basis that has been outlined in the American proposal.
July 22, 1991 Jerusalem
[Excerpts from a news conference by Secretary Baker.] . . . Let me say, ladies and gentlemen, that I think this is a moment of historic opportunity. For 43 years, Israel has sought direct negotiations with its neighbors, and it has been right to do so. Direct negotiations are the only way to solve problems and the only way to secure peace. Now there is a real opportunity to get to those face-to-face negotiations. Israel now has Arab partners willing to engage in direct negotiations. This reflects, I think, positive changes in the Arab world. Our effort has been designed to do three things--to produce direct negotiations, to produce a process on a basic approach which Israel has always said is acceptable to it, and to produce or try to produce a climate that helps these negotiations succeed. In our view, we have done all three. So, we will continue to work closely with Israel to promote this process which we think can help Israel, our strategic friend and ally, obtain a peace with security that it so richly deserves and that this volatile region so badly needs. Q: Do you foresee the conference going ahead though without a Palestinian delegation?
Secretary Baker:
Well, the American proposals which have now been accepted by a number of Arab governments contemplate a conference, peace conference, to be followed by direct negotiations between Israel and her Arab neighbors and Israel and Palestinians. It's a two-track process and a two-track approach, and I would like to think that if we receive an affirmative response from Israel then both tracks could proceed. Q: Talking about direct negotiations, what do you really mean? . . .
Secretary Baker:
The way that we have proposed this is that following the conference there would be direct, bilateral negotiations--that means the two parties. They, of course, are free to agree between them, among themselves, with respect to anybody else that they would like to have present. If they want us present, we will be present. If they want us and the Soviets present, both of us will be present. If they don't want any of us present, nobody will be present except the two of them. That is what has--that is the proposal that we have made and that has been accepted by these Arab governments. Q: Two parts: When the US says territories for peace, are we talking about territories on all fronts?
Secretary Baker:
That has been the US position for a long, long time. Let me say this--I want to say this: As I said in Damascus, if this conference happens, the terms of reference will be to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the Arab/Israeli dispute based on 242 and 338, and we continually make the point that there are differing interpretations of what 242 and 338 mean and require. Q: [Assad] was considered to be a kind of terrorist by the United States and by Israel. Do you believe there is a real change of character?
Secretary Baker:
Well, let me say that I think that there seems to be a change, certainly a rather fundamental change in the policy position of the Syrian Government with respect to the peace process. With respect to the question of terrorism, that is a different issue. We have our differences with the Government of Syria with respect to this issue, and we discuss those differences when we meet with them. Q: Mr. Secretary, what is the American position on reconvening the conference, and have you got some agreement from the Israelis on that, and what is the American position on a role for the UN, and what kind of role?
Secretary Baker:
The American position on reconvening the conference is what it has been since we proposed the compromise approach that the conference would reconvene, but only with the consent of all parties. That is the American proposal. I'm not going to answer it for Israel, that's something that I assume will be contained in their response to me. With respect to the United Nations, the American proposal is that there be a UN observer, that there be the terms of reference which I've just outlined to you, that relate to 242 and 338, that there be--if agreements are reached-- that there be a process whereby the Security Council or the United Nations endorses those agreements. I don't have the exact wording of that for you. And lastly, simply that the United States and the Soviet Union would keep the Secretary General of the United Nations notified from time to time, as we see fit, on what's going on. I might add that's something that we do when we cooperate with the Soviet Union on regional conflicts, whether it's in Cambodia or Angola or Afghanistan or wherever it is.
August 1, 1991 Jerusalem
[Excerpts from a news conference by Secretary Baker and Prime Minister Shamir.]
Prime Minister Shamir:
. . . Since its establishment, Israel has sought peace with its neighbors. We have therefore expressed our readiness to enter peace negotiations in accordance with the US proposal, subject to a satisfactory solution of the issue of Palestinian-Arab representation in the Jordanian-Palestinian delegation, and I will recommend to our cabinet to approve the proposal.
Secretary Baker:
Ladies and gentlemen, let me simply say that I am very pleased with the discussions that I have had today with the Prime Minister, with the Foreign Minister, with the Defense Minister. Somehow, ladies and gentlemen, I think it is fitting that today, just hours before the anniversary of Iraq's brutal invasion of Kuwait, we are here talking about peace, because aggression was defeated. And because aggression was defeated, I think that gives moderation a chance to come forward and to bloom, if you will. I think that the prospect of Arab-Israeli peace discussions are no longer simply a dream. I think we should all recognize that there is still some work to be done, but I think that the announcement today by the Government of Israel is extraordinarily positive and significant, and the United States for its part intends to continue to work to bring about an active, and hopefully, successful peace process. Q: Mr. Secretary, is that the 'yes' you were hoping for from the Israelis?
Secretary Baker:
That is the 'yes' we were hoping for from the Israelis. . . .
August 5, 1991 Algiers, Algeria
[Excerpts from a joint news conference by Secretary Baker and Algerian Foreign Minister Brahimi.]
Secretary Baker:
. . . I have been very pleased with my meetings with President Benjedid and with Prime Minister Ghozali and with yourself [Foreign Minister Brahimi]. I think these have been very good meetings. They have been detailed discussions. They have been comprehensive, and I hope will be productive. One thing comes through loud and clear to me from these meetings here, and that is that Algeria is strongly supportive of peace, a comprehensive and lasting peace for this region. I am pleased that you will continue discussions and consultation with your Maghreb partners with respect to determining how best you and each of you can support the efforts for peace. Let me say now, just before we return to the United States at the end of a 23-day journey on the road, that I am encouraged about the prospects for an active--for the creation of an active and viable peace process. Obviously, there is more work that needs to be done. For its part, the United States continues--will continue--to work diligently for peace. I think it's important to note that a number of governments have taken some very difficult and tough decisions in recent days. There is, in our view at least, a golden opportunity here, and that opportunity should be seized. With these difficult decisions having been taken by governments in the region, some of them unprecedented in their nature, I hope very much that others will take equally courageous and difficult decisions. And, I am encouraged that we might yet see an outbreak of peace for this region. . . . Q: Mr. Secretary, is it still the position of the United States that the PLO--the [Palestine Liberation] Organization--should not be a part of the peace process?
Secretary Baker:
It is the position of the United States that there should be a dialogue and negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians so that we can have a comprehensive approach to the problems of peace. We have discussed the possibilities for a delegation of Palestinians from the territories who agree to live in peace with Israel. Q: Mr. Secretary, you mentioned that the Maghreb states would be invited to send an observer. Would you be willing to have Libya participate in the multilateral talks? Secretary Baker: The multilateral negotiations in our view should not be closed to any countries in the region who are interested in the regional issues that might be discussed in those multilateral talks such as arms control, the environment, water. But I do think it would be preferable, of course, if those discussions could be held under circumstances in which the parties acknowledged the rights of each other to exist in peace.
September 18, 1991 Damascus, Syria
[Excerpts from a joint news conference by Secretary Baker and Syrian Foreign Minister Shara.]
Secretary Baker:
. . . Let me say, I think we had good meetings, a good meeting. We made some progress with respect to the question of the peace process. We shared with the Syrian Government, as we have with the Government of Israel and with Palestinians and with Egyptians a form of assurance letter. And I will break in here very quickly and say we are not supplying an assurance letter to Egypt, the state, because they have not asked for one, inasmuch as they are at peace with Israel. But we shared a draft of an assurance letter which the Government of Syria is reviewing. We expect to have further discussions, perhaps even some tomorrow morning, although President Assad has one head of state leaving Syria and another arriving. So the minister and I will probably have an opportunity to talk tomorrow. In addition to peace process issues, we discussed the question of hostages, and we discussed the question of Iraq.
Foreign Minister Shara:
Well, all what I would like to say is that the meeting that Secretary Baker and I had with President Assad was useful, productive, and positive. I think that both countries, Syria and the United States, have expressed their desire to go forward with the peace process and convene the peace conference in the proposed month, if possible. Q: Mr. Secretary, is it true that in your letter of assurances to Israel, there is a reference to President Ford's letter to the Israeli Government in 1975? And does this letter include the sort of guarantee that Israel should not retreat from all of the Golan Heights?
Secretary Baker:
No, that is not an accurate statement of the facts. We have had a full discussion of this. We have had a discussion of the provision in the Ford letter that you referred to and the one that we have referred to in our discussions with Israel. And I think the Government of Syria understands this. And let me simply say that there will be no conflicts between the assurances that we give the various parties. We're not going to be giving conflicting assurances.
Secretary Baker:
. . . One of the things we have offered to put in the letter is to restate the position of the US Government with respect to the fact that 242 and 338, in our view, apply on all fronts. That means that they apply not just to the West Bank and Gaza but to the Golan, as well. We also are prepared to restate US policy with respect to the non- recognition of the extension of Israeli law, administration, and jurisdiction to the Golan. These are the kinds of things that we are talking about in this letter. We will have significant assurances to Israel, and to Jordan, and to Lebanon, and to the Palestinians. But we are taking great care to see that these assurances do not conflict with each other, because that would hardly lead to a profitable result once the parties sit down. Q: Mr. Secretary, is the United States insisting on a settlement freeze independent of the loan guarantee question?
Secretary Baker:
No, what we have said when this question has been broached to us is that the question of settlements is a matter to be determined at the negotiations. We have made it clear that in our view settlements are indeed an obstacle to peace, but the time to engage on that subject and the time to engage on all of these other subjects is in the negotiations that are intended to follow the peace conference.
September 19, 1991 Amman, Jordan
[Excerpts from a joint news conference by Secretary Baker and King Hussein.]
Secretary Baker:
. . .It's a real pleasure to once again be back in Jordan and to have the opportunity to engage very constructively with you and your colleagues regarding our efforts to put together an active and viable peace process to deal with the problems of this region. I, too, think that there is a real window of opportunity here, something that all of us should strive to take advantage of, all of us--Israel, Arab states, Palestinians--in an effort to achieve a comprehensive settlement of this problem on the basis of UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. Your Majesty, let me say that, in my view, no one has been more serious, more substantive, more constructive in their efforts, and no one has exhibited greater leadership and greater courage, sir, than have you in your efforts; not just the ones that we are undertaking together now, together with others, but efforts that you have made through the years in order to address this very, very difficult problem. And, indeed, we join with you in the hopes that we will have some success on this occasion, that we will have an opportunity to move toward peace and to produce some stability-- much needed stability--for this region. . . . I believe this is the best opportunity that has presented itself in a long, long time. And I also think that it's going to be a long, long time before the bus ever comes by again. And if this opportunity is missed, in my opinion, Palestinians have perhaps the most to lose, because Palestinians have perhaps the most to gain from taking advantage of this opportunity. . . .
October 19, 1991 Madrid, Spain
[Excerpts from a news conference by Secretary Baker and Spanish Prime Minister Gonzalez.]
Prime Minister Gonzalez:
. . . Today we have the occasion and the pleasure to receive the Secretary of State, James Baker. You are well aware of the purpose of his visit here. It has to do with such an important event as a peace conference for the Middle East. I think no one will be surprised if I say that the leader, the person who made it possible for this process to unfold, is Secretary James Baker. Therefore, you have him at your disposal. In this pleasing visit we want to extend our thanks for the confidence shown our country to organize, to be the seat and host of this conference. Beforehand, we want to ask the press for understanding first of all, because we have only 10 days to organize an event of great importance; and secondly, cooperation. We know the obstacles we have before us, and therefore we will need understanding and cooperation in order to overcome those obstacles. You know that it is not usual for me to express myself in these terms, but I think that on this occasion it is indispensable. We will endeavor to rise to the occasion, and we thank Secretary Baker and the US Administration as well as the Soviet Administration for their efforts. I give the floor to Secretary Baker.
Secretary Baker:
I wish to thank you very much, and on behalf of my government and on behalf of the Soviet Government, which will be sponsoring this conference with us, I would like to express our appreciation to you, sir, and to your government, to Minister Ordonez, my colleague, and to the people of Spain for being willing to undertake this very, very large responsibility on what was indeed of necessity on rather short notice. Ladies and gentlemen, we have had a full discussion with the Prime Minister and his colleagues regarding some of the logistical tasks before us, some of the problems that we anticipate might arise. I would like to simply say that I don't think we could have found anywhere a more cooperative spirit and a more willing attitude than we have found here in Madrid this afternoon. This is indeed a very, very large task. Of course, invitations have gone out, the responses have not been received, [but] we are very hopeful that, indeed, there will be this conference here in Madrid. But, as I said to the press traveling with us, we don't take anything for granted, and we don't make any assumptions. Although over the course of the past 7 months we have worked diligently with the parties of this conference--and it is our hope that they will indeed respond positively and affirmatively--and that the people of the Middle East will have the opportunity to see created an active and viable peace process and will have the opportunity to hope for the peace that they so richly deserve and which has been so long denied.

Secretary Baker: Organizational Meeting for Multilateral Negotiations on the Middle East

News Conference
[Opening remarks by Secretary Baker, Moscow, Russia, January 28, 1992.] Let me say a few words, and then, perhaps, [Russian Foreign Minister] Andrei [Kozyrev] would like to add to or subtract from what I'm going to say. I think we had a good beginning this morning. The interventions of the various ministers and representatives were, on the whole, I felt, complete and moderate in their tone [and] spoke to the real issues for which we are gathered here--which is to look at, consider, and, hopefully, act upon some of the regional problems facing the Middle East as a region. Our desire, of course, is to get agreement here with respect to the formation of working groups and to achieve some consensus, if we can, later this afternoon and tomorrow respecting when those working groups might meet and where they might meet. Having said that, I have to say that--I hope I'm speaking as well for my co-sponsor--that we are disappointed, of course, that the Palestinian delegation chose not to attend. The position of the co-sponsors with respect to this matter is that attendance today should have been pursuant to the formula agreed to and carried out in Madrid and to the formula agreed to and represented in the terms of reference as reflected in the invitation that was extended both for the bilaterals and for this meeting. Let me say that I, personally, think there is merit to the argument that we here are dealing with issues that involve the region as a whole and that, therefore, consideration should be given to expanding the terms of reference in so far as they pertain to the question of Palestinian representation. Over the course of the past several days, and particularly last night and again this morning, we told the Palestinians--in discussion with their representatives-- that we, together, would be supportive of representation by diaspora Palestinians in working groups where that representation was appropriate. It is the view of the United States--and again I hope the similar view of Russia--that that representation is appropriate with respect to working groups that were created to discuss, for instance, the question of refugees; that it would be appropriate in connection with working groups that would be considering economic development; and that there might perhaps be other working groups where diaspora representation would be appropriate. That did not suffice to convince the Palestinians to appear today, and for that we are regretful. However, we have a good conference, and there are many things that we can and will accomplish. We believe that the Palestinians are making a mistake by not taking advantage of this opportunity. It represents a real opportunity not unlike that represented by Madrid where they appeared; they made presentations, [and] they were well received by the international community as a whole. The same opportunity is represented here, and we're sorry they are not here.
Organizational Meeting
[Concluding remarks by Secretary Baker, Moscow, Russia, January 28, 1992.] As we approach the end of our first day, let me start my concluding remarks by saying, quite simply, that I am encouraged that this organizational meeting is taking place, because I think that the launching of these multilateral talks is another important milestone in what I referred to earlier as the historic road that we began in Madrid. Many here have demonstrated real creativity and vision in the ideas that have been suggested here today and the comments that have been made here. It was heartening to hear some of my colleagues from the Middle East talk about the rich potential of regional cooperation. And, it is also heartening to hear of the readiness of many countries around this table from outside the region to pitch in and help realize that potential. It should be surprising to no one that we heard today of difficulties as well as possibilities and that we spoke today candidly of problems as well as hopes. It is obvious that enduring regional cooperation will not be possible without progress toward resolving core political disputes that are involved in the multilateral negotiations, and many speakers today have made mention of that. It is obvious that many of the questions discussed today, like arms control and regional security or water, are inherently complex subjects. But it is equally obvious to me, as I mentioned this morning, that systematic consideration of those kinds of issues can be a complement and can be a catalyst for the bilateral talks and for progress in the bilateral talks, and, of course, the bilateral talks remain the heart of the peace-making process. We regret that three of the regional parties invited to attend-- Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinians--are not here today. We continue to believe that these three parties could make a significant contribution to the work of these multilateral negotiations, and we encourage them to participate as this process evolves. At the same time, we believe this process can work to their benefit. Palestinians, in particular, we think, have much to gain from such participation. As Minister Kozyrev and I made clear earlier today-- publicly and to the Palestinians--we would be supportive of Palestinian requests to include diaspora representatives in appropriate working groups, such as refugees and economic development, after the Moscow meeting. However, the terms of reference for this meeting, as reflected in the original invitations, call for Palestinian representation based on the Madrid formula, and they should not be changed at the last minute if this entire process is to continue to have credibility with all of us. We regret that the Palestinians are not here. They have chosen not to come, and, in my view, they have once again passed up an important opportunity. We also regret that the United Nations, which was invited to attend, is not here. We hope for full UN participation in the working groups as the process moves ahead. UN specialized agencies could play an important role in supporting this process. Now, with the active participation of those here today and with the potential future involvement of others, I think it is time to get to work. And, I think that we have before us a reasonable framework for collective and constructive action. Tomorrow morning at 10:00, we will begin to discuss five initial working groups--working groups in arms control and regional security, economic development, water, environment, and refugees. These discussions will be followed this spring by a range of specific follow-up steps, from missions to the region to seminars and perhaps further meetings. -- The European Community has indicated its willingness to play a leading role in promoting regional economic development. -- Japan is considering a mission to the region to explore possibilities for environmental cooperation in the Gulf of Aqaba. It has also made clear its readiness to help regional parties address some broader environmental challenges. -- The water group will be discussing timing, venue, and possible agenda for a first seminar on regional water cooperation. -- I am pleased to confirm that the United States is prepared to host a seminar on arms control and regional security. -- The refugee group will consider practical ways of improving the lot of people throughout the region who have been displaced from their homes. I am particularly pleased that Canada has indicated its readiness to play a leading role in promoting regional cooperation in this area. In addition, we think consideration should be given to forming an ad hoc steering group. The purposes of such a group would be to provide continuity, to monitor the efforts of the five initial working groups as and when they are formed, and to consider the formation of additional groups. As we prepare for tomorrow's meetings, I think there are several things we should keep in mind. First, I think we ought to all remember, because we've all spoken about it up here, the opportunity created by these multilateral discussions. They offer a real and valuable chance to address issues of major importance that do not lend themselves to discussion of the bilateral framework. Secondly, we should not forget the potential for the multilateral talks to help create a political environment in which the bilateral talks are more likely to accomplish what we all want in the areas of peace, territory, and security. Third, we should take full advantage of the experience, the expertise, and resources of others, both inside and outside the region. Fourth, while keeping our horizons and ambitions broad, it might be best if we were to focus initially on some small, practical steps that provide a foundation on which we can build. Fifth, we should recognize that consensus among all the parties directly concerned is the only sensible way to move ahead in the working groups. Peace is not going to be imposed from the outside; neither can various forms of regional cooperation be imposed. Progress on regional issues requires effort and commitment, particularly by regional parties themselves. No one should expect immediate breakthroughs toward multilateral cooperation in the Middle East, but neither should we neglect the possibilities for cooperation which exist at this unique moment in the history of the region and at this unique moment in the history of the world. Look around you, ladies and gentlemen, at the parties gathered at this table. Who would have imagined 50 years ago that the nations of Europe, many of whom were for centuries the fiercest of enemies, would find lasting common purpose in a vibrant European Community? And, who would have imagined even 5 years ago that the United States would launch a new partnership with a democratizing Russia? Who really knows what kinds of cooperation, however improbable it might seem today, might be possible in the Middle East over the rest of this decade? So, in closing, let me again thank Andrei Kozyrev and his government for their gracious hospitality and for undertaking the logistical difficulties of putting on a conference such as this on short notice. And, my friends, let us all press ahead with renewed determination and renewed energy to make multilateral cooperation a reality in a region which has already known far more than its share of conflict.

Fact Sheet: US Diplomatic Efforts Toward a Middle East Peace Conference

Following the end of the Gulf war in February 1991, President Bush and Secretary Baker engaged in an intensive diplomatic effort to bring about a Middle East peace conference, in person and over the telephone in many diplomatic conversations. The President and former Soviet President Gorbachev formally announced joint US- Soviet sponsorship for a peace conference in a statement released on July 31, 1991, during their summit talks in Moscow. The White House announced on October 23, 1991, that Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the Palestinians had accepted invitations extended on October 18 to a Middle East peace conference to be held in Madrid from October 30 through November 1. The parties held their first round of direct bilateral negotiations during the Madrid conference and then held two additional rounds in December 1991 and January 1992 in Washington.
Trips to Middle East
Secretary Baker made eight trips to the region and met with Middle Eastern diplomats and Palestinian representatives in order to set the stage for the peace conference: March 7-14, 1991 April 6-12, 1991 April 19-25, 1991 May 11-16, 1991 July 18-22, 1991 August 1-5, 1991 September 16-19, 1991 October 12-18, 1991 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Graphic: Meetings With Palestinian Representatives

Date Location of Meeting July 2, 1991 Washington July 21, 1991 Jerusalem Sept. 16, 1991 Jerusalem Sept. 19, 1991 Amman Oct. 10-11, 1991 Washington, DC Oct 16, 1991 Jerusalem Oct. 18, 1991 Jerusalem -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Graphic: Toward a Middle East Peace Conference Countries Visited.

Country Times Visited Egypt 7 Israel 8 Jordan 6 Syria 8 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Meetings With Soviet Foreign Ministers: Chronology
Secretary Baker met with the Soviet Foreign Minister on the following dates to discuss joint US and Soviet efforts toward obtaining a peace conference: January 26-29, 1991--Washington, DC (with Foreign Minister Bessmertnykh) March 14-17, 1991--Moscow (with Foreign Minister Bessmertnykh) April 24-25, 1991--Kislovodsk, USSR (with Foreign Minister Bessmertnykh) May 12-13, 1991--Cairo, Egypt (with Foreign Minister Bessmertnykh) June 1, 1991--Lisbon, Portugal (with Foreign Minister Bessmertnykh) June 20, 1991--Berlin, Germany (with Foreign Minister Bessmertnykh) July 29-30, 1991--Moscow (with Foreign Minister Bessmertnykh) September 13, 1991--Moscow (with Foreign Minister Pankin) September 26-27, 1991-- New York City (with Foreign Minister Pankin) October 18, 1991-- Jerusalem (with Foreign Minister Pankin) October 23, 1991--Paris (with Foreign Minister Pankin) October 29, 1991--Madrid (with Foreign Minister Pankin)