93/04/21 News Conference on Middle East Peace Talks To Resume (Washington, DC)  Return to: Index of 1993 Secretary of State's Speeches/Testimonies || Electronic Research Collections Index || ERC Homepage

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U.S. Department of State
93/04/21 News Conference on Middle East Peace Talks To Resume 
Office of the Spokesman


Opening statement by
Secretary of State Warren Christopher
at a news conference

Washington, DC
April 21, 1993

On behalf of President Clinton, I am very pleased to announce that the 
Middle East peace talks will resume on April 27, here in Washington, DC.  
We were informed of this decision directly by the Arab leaders and by 
the Palestinians.  This information came through [during] the night, and 
it has just been confirmed this morning.

The information to us included a letter this morning from Faisal 
Husseini, in his capacity as head of the Palestinian peace team.  I've 
informed Prime Minister Rabin of this good news and understand that the 
Israeli Government will be responding to these developments later today.

We have also been consulting during this period with our Russian co-
sponsors.  These decisions, of course, are very welcome and serve the 
best interests of the Arab states, the Palestinians, Israel, and the 
entire world community.

It has been almost 5 months since the last round of talks.  Too much 
time has been lost, and now there is an opportunity for the parties to 
work together and make tangible progress.  If the parties are prepared 
to do their part and to narrow the gaps, we will certainly do ours and 
play the role of full partner.

From the outset of the Administration, President Clinton has made clear 
his commitment to promoting peace in the Middle East.  Our extensive 
efforts over the past few months [and] the developments announced today 
reflect the high priority that President Clinton gives to doing so.

Let me say just a few words about our contacts with the Palestinians.  
I've had important and productive discussions with them.  They have 
spoken eloquently of the human rights problems in the occupied 
territories.  They have reaffirmed the Palestinian commitment to the 
peace process and the importance of making early progress, particularly 
to address the conditions that the Palestinians face in the West Bank 
and Gaza.  They have agreed that it's time to deal with causes, not the 
symptoms, of the conflict.  We realize that the decision to rejoin the 
talks was a difficult one for them to make.  I think it was a courageous 
one, and I commend them for making it.

For our part, I have reaffirmed the American opposition to deportations, 
making it clear that we believe that they contravene the Fourth Geneva 
Convention and are not consistent with the pursuit of peace.  Israel has 
assured us that the deportations in December were unprecedented and were 
an exception.  I made [it] very clear that violence and deportation are 
counter-productive and that we call on all parties to avoid acts that 
can undermine the negotiating process and the prospects for peace.  We 
are deeply dismayed by the killings and suffering in both the occupied 
territories and in Israel.

In the course of this process, I also have reaffirmed on behalf of the 
United States our continued commitment to the letters of invitation to 
the Madrid conference and to the letters of assurance provided to the 
Palestinians and to the other parties at that time.  Further, I affirmed 
our position on a comprehensive, full, and real peace based upon UN 
Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and on the core principles that 
underlie that process--land for peace, realizing the legitimate 
political rights of the Palestinian people, and security for all 
parties.

All the parties--Israel, the Palestinians, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon--
need and want real peace and security.  Only negotiations can produce a 
settlement that embodies these principles.  Negotiations can give the 
Palestinians the prospect that the very difficult conditions under which 
they now live in the territories can be brought to an end.  Through 
negotiations, they can see occupation give way to self-government and a 
resolution of the final status.

Negotiations will put in Palestinian hands the means to build and shape 
their institutions, their life, and their fate.  Violence will not solve 
any problems.  It will only make matters worse.  Those responsible for 
the violence offer a future that only perpetuates occupation.  The 
answer to the needs of the Palestinian people will be found not in 
violence and rejection but in negotiations that produce tangible 
results.

In this respect, we very much welcome the decision of the Palestinians 
to come to the table and negotiations on April 27.  We are prepared to 
play the role of full partners with all the parties in this negotiating 
process and in helping the negotiators to produce results.

During my trip to the Middle East, every leader with whom I met--
Israeli, Arab, and Palestinian--made clear to me their desire to resume 
negotiations and achieve early results.  All have recommitted themselves 
to the peace process during the recent consultations that led up to 
today's decision.

In sum, it is time to end violence and build a new Middle East--a Middle 
East of peace, of reconciliation, and of hope.  

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