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U.S. Department of State
93/02/22 Statement at news Conference with Lebanese Pres. & ForMin
Office of the Spokesman

Opening statement by 
Secretary of State Warren Christopher 
at a news conference with 
Lebanese President Hraoui 
Foreign Minister Bouez
Beirut, Lebanon
February 22, 1993

Secretary Christopher:  Thank you, Mr. President.  I'm very happy to be 
here in Beirut tonight.  As the President says, my visit has come at a 
time when the Lebanese people are finally beginning to achieve the 
national reconciliation and economic reconstruction that they have so 
long sought.  This country has been hurried by confrontation and 
violence for much too long.  Its greatest treasure, the resources of its 
people, has been wasted by civil war.  I hope that period is now behind 
us.  My visit to Beirut today is the first for a Secretary of State of 
the United States in a decade.  It symbolizes our commitment and support 
for the Lebanese Government, for its efforts to achieve independence and 
territorial integrity, [and] for the dissolution of the armed militias 
and the withdrawal of all non-Lebanese forces.  We continue to believe 
that the Taif agreement represents the best pathway and the best 
foundation on which to build a better future.

The United States has always had a special relationship with Lebanon and 
a special feeling for the people of Lebanon.  We want to work with 
others--others in the international community--to help Lebanon get back 
on its feet through the strenuous efforts that it is now making.

My visit also reflects the US commitment to moving forward in the peace 
process--the Arab-Israeli negotiations--and I have told the President 
that the United States is prepared to commit itself to be a full partner 
in helping to move this process forward.  As co-sponsor of the process, 
we vow to take an active role.  These negotiations carry great 
importance for Lebanon.  As one of the parties involved in the 
negotiating process launched in Madrid, Lebanon would benefit greatly, 
as would all the people in the region around here, from a just, lasting, 
and comprehensive peace.

I'm glad that I heard today from the Lebanese leaders--the President, 
the Prime Minister, and the Foreign Minister--that they all agree, with 
the other countries in this region that I have spoken to on my trip so 
far to four other Arab countries, that there should be an early return 
to negotiations.  The parties should return to the table as soon as 

Let me also say how pleased I was to be able to come to Beirut to have 
discussions on some of the substantive issues which have faced the 
negotiations with the President, the Prime Minister, and the Foreign 
Minister.  Our consultations have given me a better sense of the road 
ahead.  It won't be easy, but I think that we've begun a process here 
which will enable us to work effectively together in the future, 
provided the parties are prepared to come back to the negotiations and 
do their part.  The United States will do its part.  Thank you very