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U.S. Department of State
93/04/23 Address to American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Office of the Spokesman

Address by
Secretary of State Warren Christopher
before the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Arlington, Virginia
April 23, 1993 

US Commitment to the Middle East Peace Process

(introductory remarks deleted)
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee has set for itself a 
supremely important yet difficult goal.  Fighting discrimination is a 
fundamental responsibility of our government as well as of each of us as 
Americans.  Together, we must overcome personal prejudices and common 
stereotypes.  As everyone in this room knows, yours is a fight worth 
fighting, and I applaud you for your efforts.

I also applaud the committee's efforts to promote human rights and its 
support for the creation of a truly peaceful and secure Middle East.

Recently, I attended my first Gridiron dinner since becoming Secretary 
of State.  And I was welcomed back to the city in true Gridiron fashion.  
One of the speakers referred to me as "statesmanlike, sagelike, and 
almost lifelike."  That wasn't enough, though.  The same speaker 
couldn't resist also mentioning a Time magazine photo of me in Egypt, 
standing in front of the Sphinx.  Trying, I guess, to be helpful, the 
speaker said, "In case you wondered, the one on the left is Mr. 

As I stood by the pyramids, I was struck by the irony of my visit as a 
representative of the world's oldest democracy--all of 217 years old--to 
the heart of one of the world's truly oldest civilizations.  And, of 
course, I was reminded of the enormous debt we owe to the ancient 
cultures and peoples of what we now call the Middle East and of our 
historic obligation to make history together by making peace.

The end of the Cold War has created an unusual opportunity for progress 
toward peace in the region.  In the Middle East, such opportunities are 
unlikely to last very long, and the cost of lost opportunity is very 
high indeed.  It's precisely because of the recognition of these costs 
that every Administration for over the last 4 decades--Democratic and 
Republican alike--has played an active role in the search for peace in 
the Middle East.

From the outset of this Administration, President Clinton has made clear 
his commitment to promoting peace in the Middle East.  And we have been 
working hard to bring the Israelis and Arabs and Palestinians back to 
the negotiating table so that we can move ahead to grasp the promise of 

Peace Process

As you know, 2 days ago the parties agreed to return to the peace talks 
in Washington next Tuesday, April 27, after a 5-month hiatus.  We 
welcome this development.  Too much time has been lost.  Now is the time 
for real progress, and now is the time to help the peace-makers--not 
those determined to destroy any possibility of making peace in the 
region.  Together, we must seize the chance to negotiate a comprehensive 
Arab-Israeli peace settlement based upon UN Security Council Resolutions 
242 and 338.

The promise of peace--the benefits that will flow from peace--are 
becoming more apparent to all the parties.  A negotiated settlement 
would be built on a number of principles, including land for peace, the 
realization of the legitimate political rights of the Palestinian 
people, security for all parties, and the normalization of relations in 
the area.  By securing peace, terrorists can be marginalized.  The 
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction can be curbed.  And the 
promise of regional economic growth and cooperation can be fulfilled.  
The Middle East does not have to stand in the world as a cauldron of 
hostility.  Instead, it can be a cradle of hope.

The United States:  A Full Partner

My role is to be a diplomat, not a dreamer.  Diplomacy can produce 
concrete results.  The United States is playing an active role--not only 
as co-sponsor of the process but as a full partner in the search for 
solutions.  We are doing our part, and we are looking to the parties to 
do theirs to take advantage of this historic moment for the region.

In helping the parties work through the issues, we recognize the 
political realities each faces at home.  The Palestinians are under 
great pressure, and we must work with them and the Israelis to help 
demonstrate that negotiations lead to tangible results.  And I want to 
commend the Palestinian leaders for making the difficult and courageous 
decision to return to the negotiating table.

Bilateral Negotiations

In the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, serious and meaningful 
Palestinian self-government is possible as an interim stage toward a 
negotiated final status.  Indeed, the objective of this process is a 
real peace that will see occupation give way to interim self-government 
arrangements and a new relationship between Israelis and Palestinians.  
This outcome must provide a peaceful and orderly transfer of authority 
to the Palestinians.

In the bilateral talks between Israel and Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan, 
the parties have been addressing the core issues of territory, security, 
and peace.  This is the right track.  With continued commitment and hard 
work, the parties involved can find that peace is increasingly possible, 
desirable, and even irresistible.

Other Objectives

Let me turn for a moment to my recent trip to the Middle East.  The 
President sent me there in February with several other objectives in 
mind.  I wanted to demonstrate support for Lebanon.  I wanted to 
reaffirm the American commitment to Persian Gulf security and restate 
our policy toward Iraq and our concerns about Iran.  Let me brief you on 
some of my impressions.

Lebanon.  I especially wanted to go to Lebanon to signal--in the most 
direct way I could--our support for that nation and for the progress the 
Lebanese people have made.  I was proud to be the first Secretary of 
State to visit Beirut in over a decade.  

My arrival there was one of the more exciting visits to a national 
capital ever experienced by a Secretary of State.  I will never forget 
my view of Beirut as we approached by Marine chopper.  The splendor of 
the blue sea, the white buildings, the green orchards, and the snow-
capped mountains almost made me forget that this was a country that had 
only recently been ravaged by war.

My visit was intended to underscore US support for the efforts of the 
Lebanese to recover from that war, to regain its sovereignty and 
independence, and to rebuild its economy.  A strong central government 
is vital to these objectives.  A key to the extension of Lebanese 
Government authority throughout the country is the maintenance of 
strong, government-controlled armed forces.  I am pleased that we have 
been able to restart the IMET program--the International Military 
Education and Training pro-gram--for the Lebanese armed forces.

I also want to emphasize that we continue to support full implementation 
of both the letter and spirit of the Taif accord.  This includes the 
disarming of all militias and the withdrawal of all non-Lebanese forces 
from Lebanon.  Finally, I want to reiterate my appreciation of Lebanon's 
firm support for the peace process and reaffirm my solid encouragement 
for their active participation in all phases of the negotiating process.

Gulf Security.  I also went to the region to underscore the President's 
commitment to the security of the Persian Gulf and of our friends and 
allies on the Arabian Peninsula.  President Clinton's commitment, like 
that of every President since Franklin Roosevelt, is firm and constant.  
And that commitment is crucial because the countries of the Arabian 
Peninsula remain vulnerable to aggression from an Iraqi regime bent on 
vengeance and from a newly armed and ideologically assertive Iran.

Iraq.  Concerning Iraq, President Clinton has clearly reaffirmed the 
continuity of our policy.  I want to take this occasion to stress that 
Iraq must fully comply with all UN resolutions. 

We bear no ill will toward the people of Iraq, whose suffering is the 
direct responsibility of the present regime.  In fact, we continue to 
fund relief programs in northern Iraq and to support UN efforts to 
establish relief in central and southern Iraq.  The Iraqi people deserve 
a government that is representative of Iraq's pluralistic society, that 
is committed to the territorial integrity and unity of Iraq, and that 
neither commits crimes against its own people nor threatens its 

Iran.  When I was in the Middle East, I also found deep distrust of 
Iran's intentions and potential capabilities.  Iran is an important 
country that could make significant contributions to the international 
community.  But first it must end behavior which threatens its neighbors 
and seeks to undermine the pursuit of peace.  Iran must end its support 
of terrorism, its acquisition of weapons of mass destruction, and its 
efforts to undermine the peace process. We will work with our friends in 
the region and with other nations to make sure that Iran's leaders 
understand the high costs of continuing to pursue destabilizing 

Democracy, Human Rights, And Islam

The promotion of democracy and respect for human rights is one of the 
three pillars of President Clinton's foreign policy.  I know, however, 
that there is concern, both within and outside the region, over Islamic 
fundamentalism and its effect on the stability and policies of many of 
these countries.

Tonight, I would like to state clearly that Islam is not our enemy.  Nor 
do we consider Islam a threat to world peace or to regional security.  
What we do oppose is extremism or fanaticism, whether of a religious or 
secular nature.  We part company with those who preach intolerance, 
abuse human rights, or resort to violence in pursuit of their political 

While we cannot impose our own form of government on others, we strongly 
support those who share and seek to encourage democratic values in their 
countries.  As with the peace process, the United States stands ready to 

work with our friends in the region toward the important goals of peace, 
stability, and social justice.

In the end, of course, it will be up to the people and the governments 
of the Middle East to shape the future of their region.  If they are 
successful, the benefits of true peace and prosperity will fall to 
future generations of Muslims, Jews, and Christians for the first time 
in these ancient lands.  I want you to know that this President and this 
Secretary of State intend to move the peace process forward, to remain 
engaged, and to retain the trust of all parties to this historic quest.  

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