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U.S. Department of State
93/09/13 Interview on ABC's Good Morning America/Middle East Peace
Office of the Spokesman

                           INTERVIEW OF
                     ABC-TV - CHARLES GIBSON
                      "GOOD MORNING AMERICA"

                         Washington, D.C.
                        September 13, 1993

MR. CHARLES GIBSON:  Just a few moments before we went on the air this 
morning, I had a chance to talk to the U.S. Secretary of State, Warren 
Christopher.  I began by asking him, if he, in his own heart, honestly, 
honestly believed that something like this -- this signing agreement -- 
would take place.

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I certainly didn't expect to see it this soon.  
It came on with a rush at the end.

QUESTION:  Your feelings about it?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Of course, I don't use the word "historic" 
lightly, but this is a genuinely historic moment.  I think we are all 
kind of batting our eyes about it and trying to adjust to the new 
reality, but it's a tremendous thing for the people of the region.  It's 
also a tremendous thing for the people of the United States.

This has been a region that's been torn by violence and conflict for 
such a long time.  When there's conflict there, the United States 
inevitably is drawn in, in one way or the other.  So when you ease 
tensions there, when you diminish the terror there, it's good for the 
whole world and it's good for the people of the United States.

QUESTION:  In your mind, the key factor to make this declaration, this 
agreement, work?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  The key factor is continuing cooperation between 
the Israelis and the Palestinians.  I think if the Palestinians are able 
to make progress in the West Bank, if they're able to establish this 
early empowerment that's been offered to them, if they're able to 
control the violence, I think then it will work.

QUESTION:  Underlining that -- controlling the violence -- can the PLO, 
in your mind, deliver that?  Can they make that happen?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Of course, that's the key question.  That's why 
this is an interim agreement.  It will test for the future.  But I think 
there are good signs now.  There is support coming from the 
Palestinians.  No doubt, Charlie, there are a lot of people out there 
who are enemies of this process that will try to disrupt it.  But I 
think the way the supporters are coming together behind Chairman Arafat 
is quite impressive.  The whole world has got a big stake in making this 
thing work.

QUESTION:  Already, on the eve of this, Prime Minister Rabin saying the 
Palestinian flag will never fly over Jerusalem; also talking somewhat 
discouragingly, I think, in tone about an eventual Palestinian state, 
does this bode well for future negotiations between these two sides?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, they've come a long way.  You know, these 
are not just adversaries, they have been enemies.  The fact that they're 
here to sign together, that they've made this step, I think bodes well 
for the future.

QUESTION:  Do you think there are equal concessions on both sides in 
this, or do you think that the PLO have given a lot more than the 

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, that's not for me to judge, Charlie.  I 
will have to say there were compromises on both sides.  I know that 
Prime Minister Rabin thought he made some very important concessions to 
make this final agreement possible.  Certainly, there are major 
concessions by the PLO.  A number of the most difficult problems are 
postponed until the final status; but this is a tremendous step.

QUESTION:  Two years of public negotiation under U.S. supervision since 
Madrid and yet they've reached private agreement here.  Do you expect, 
number one, that there will be agreement with the Jordanians and the 
Syrians?  And do you expect the best progress in the long run for those 
negotiations are private?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, certainly, it's best when the parties get 
together and discuss it between themselves.  There's no substitute for 
that.  Different tracks will have different modalities and different 
solutions.  I wouldn't want to predict that.  But, here, the parties 
came together.  They are able to resolve things in private that they 
were not able to resolve in public.

QUESTION:  Can the U.S. play a larger role in those other negotiations, 
particularly with the Syrians?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  We'll just have to wait and see.  We're prepared 
to be an intermediary.  But there's no subject, there's no thing better 
than to have the parties themselves able to sit down and negotiate.  So, 
we will do our part.  If they want to negotiate face to face, that's 
certainly the best way.

                                  # # # 

 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman

                           INTERVIEW OF               SECRETARY OF STATE 
WARREN CHRISTOPHER                                 ON                        
CBS-TV - PAULA ZAHN                         "CBS THIS MORNING"

                    Monday, September 13, 1993

 MS. PAULA ZAHN:  Secretary of State Warren Christopher joins me live 
now.  Good morning.

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Good morning, Paula.

QUESTION:  How are you feeling this morning?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I'm feeling wonderful.

QUESTION:  Let's talk about the specific promises that the United States 
has made to Israel in order to bring about this agreement.  What have we 
promised monetarily?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  We haven't promised anything monetarily with 
respect to this particular agreement.  Of course, we give very 
substantial aid to Israel every year.  We're going to continue that.  
Even in this year of a very stringent budget, we're continuing our aid 
to Israel.

But with respect to this agreement, they haven't asked for any monetary 
support, and we haven't pledged any.  But I would say that we feel a 
commitment to help raise some funds so the Palestinians will be able to 
carry out their early empowerment in the West Bank.  We'll be trying to 
raise those funds from countries all around the world.

QUESTION:  When the President said over the weekend our involvement in 
that financially would be modest, exactly what did he mean by that?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  We really don't know how much money would be 
required overall.  But I think that there are a number of countries 
around the world, especially the Gulf states -- including Saudi Arabia 
and others in the Middle East -- that will probably carry the lion's 
share of this.  The Europeans are interested.  The Nordic countries, 
which have played such an important role here, are going to be helpful.

QUESTION:  Japan, we're told, will contribute?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Japan.  I met yesterday with the Japanese 
Foreign Minister, Mr. Hata, and he indicated that Japan would be 

QUESTION:  Let's talk about some numbers.  The World Bank, yesterday, 
came out and then showed its plan for what it would take to rebuild the 
infrastructure in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.  They were throwing 
out a $3 billion figure.  Is it realistic?  These are loan guarantees 
and other ways of raising the money.

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  It no doubt will be expensive because conditions 
in the West Bank are very bad at the present time.  It's been run down 
over the years with all the violence.  There's a lot of rebuilding to be 
done there.

But one of the things that's created under this agreement is an economic 
committee between the Palestinians and Israel.  One of the things 
they'll first be doing is planning for the reconstruction of the West 

QUESTION:  Let's talk about what our military commitment might be.  I 
know that yesterday you talked about the possibility, if necessary, of 
stationing American troops in the Golan Heights if an agreement is 
eventually worked out with Syria.  Do you have an expectation that might 

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Let's distinguish two things carefully, Paula.  
This agreement today is between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

QUESTION:  Absolutely.

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  They've not asked for any military support from 
the United States to carry out that agreement.  What I was talking about 
yesterday was the possibility of an agreement between Syrians and the 
Israelis.  That's down the road a ways.  If that comes about, it's 
conceivable the United States would be asked to provide some security in 
the Golan Heights area.

The United States has taken the position that Israel is prepared to take 
risks for peace, which will mean so much to the world as a whole.  The 
United States is prepared to do its part by way of helping to provide 

You know, peace in the Middle East means a lot to the people in the 
region, but also a great deal to the people of the United States.  If 
things blow up there, we're inevitably involved.  It really would be 
very costly to us if things blow up there, so it's worth a lot to us to 
try to ensure the peace in the Middle East.

QUESTION:  What can you tell us about the state of negotiations between 
Syria and Israel at the moment?  We know that President Assad said over 
the weekend this agreement between the PLO and Israel cannot stand 
alone, that there must be a breakthrough between the Syrians and the 
Israelis.  What do you plan to do and where are those talks right now?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, we hope that this agreement will be a 
catalyst for further progress.  The parties are talking substantively.  
They've got a long ways to go.  There's a question as to how much Prime 
Minister Rabin can take or can stand in Israel at the present time.  But 
I would expect those negotiations will move forward as we move into the 
fall, and the United States will be available to serve as an 
intermediary between the parties, to carry messages back and forth, to 
be an honest broker.

President Clinton has instructed me to be available to the parties 
whenever they want me to be there, and I will be.

QUESTION:  Let's talk about another deal in the works.  We hear this 
morning that there could be a deal -- that we will see by the end of the 
week -- between Jordan and Israel.  What can you tell us about that?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I expect, Paula, that before the end of the 
week, and probably tomorrow, Israel and the Jordanians will sign an 
agreement on the agenda.  It's a fairly full agenda.  It's not a final 
agreement and it does not have the complexity of the Declaration of 
Principles, but it will be an important step.

Whenever countries in the Middle East -- Israel and the Arab countries -
- sign an agreement, it's an historic day because they've not had that 
kind of a relationship in the past.

QUESTION:  How long do you think it will be before an agreement is 
finalized, then, if that's just a start?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I would expect that that can move rather 
quickly.  I would say within the course of the next several months, or 
maybe within the next year, there can be an agreement between Jordan and 
Israel comparable to the agreement today.

QUESTION:  How much credit can either you or the President take for the 
signing of this accord today?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Credit isn't important.  The real credit belongs 
to the parties, the Palestinians and the Israelis.  We did help launch 
the process.  We were the sponsors.  Two or three times in the last 
seven or eight months when it seemed to veer off track, we've gotten it 
back on track.  But the important thing is the agreement and not who 
gets credit for it.

QUESTION:  And as you look behind you this morning, you think that 
Yasser Arafat will be here in several hours, perhaps shaking hands with 
Yitzhak Rabin, what goes through your mind?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, I think it deserves the word "historic."  
We use that pretty carefully, but it's really quite a moment.  You know, 
the parties have broken through decades of fear and hatred to be here.  
We're all blinking our eyes.  It's a wonderful day for us.

MS. PAULA ZAHN:  Secretary of State Warren Christopher, thank you so 
much for joining us this morning.


MS. PAULA ZAHN:  Nice to have you with us.

                               # # # 

 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman

                           INTERVIEW OF               SECRETARY OF STATE 
WARREN CHRISTOPHER                                 BY                        
NBC-TV, KATIE COURIC                            "TODAY" SHOW

                         Washington, D.C.                         
September 13, 1993

 MS. KATIE COURIC:  For this peace plan to work, it's clear that it must 
be closely monitored.  That is a job that falls under the watchful eye 
of Secretary of State Warren Christopher.

Mr. Secretary, good morning.  Welcome to "Today."

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Good morning, Katie.  Thank you.

QUESTION:  This is a good morning, isn't it?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  It's a wonderful morning.

QUESTION:  It was a difficult weekend, though, in terms of violence in 
the occupied territories as you, I'm sure, know.  Are you expecting Mr. 
Arafat to condemn the killings that took place?  Will you demand that he 
do so?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I think he ought to do so.  The enemies of peace 
are still operating in the Middle East, and I think we all must work to 
make sure that they don't prevail, and that the proponents of peace do 
prevail.  I think Mr. Arafat will want to join in that.

He's coming here today.  He is witnessing the agreement.  I think that 
puts him on the line, and he'll want to make sure it succeeds.

QUESTION:  Will you ask him to condemn the killings if he does not step 
forward to do so himself?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I'm going to be meeting with him this afternoon, 
and that's one of the things we're going to discuss.  I know he will 
want to end the violence as well to make this agreement work.

QUESTION:  How concerned are you that violence by radical Palestinians 
or right-wing Israelis will derail this whole process?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, I think it's something we all have to be 
concerned about, but we must work against it.  There is a new hope here.  
The parties have broken through decades of fear and hatred.  I think we 
must get behind the step they've taken.

QUESTION:  We just heard Shimon Peres talking about a double celebration 
-- today the Palestinians, tomorrow peace with Jordan -- but the real 
stumbling block or the sticking point might be peace with the Syrians.

I understand that talks with that country will resume in October.  What 
will the U.S. role be there?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, we'll be playing the role of an 
intermediary.  The parties have asked us in effect to carry messages 
back and forth between them.  At some point, perhaps, they'll get 
together for direct negotiations.  At this point, we're serving as an 
honest broker or an intermediary for them.

QUESTION:  Do you think that Mr. Rabin is politically strong enough to 
handle peace accords with both the Palestinians and the Syrians?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  That will be a judgment for him, but he is a 
very strong man.  His background, his whole history, gives him a sense 
of strength.  And, of course, Foreign Minister Peres has been a very 
good colleague and companion on this.  Working together, they're a very 
strong team.

QUESTION:  Would the United States be willing to commit troops and 
provide security guarantees if Israel, say, or if Syria demands that 
Israel give up the Golan Heights?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, that's quite a long ways down the road, 
but the United States --

QUESTION:  Do you see that happening?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, I see the United States being prepared to 
be helpful.  If Israel is prepared to take risks for peace, the United 
States should be supportive, just as we have been in the peace between 
Egypt and Israel.

QUESTION:  Apparently, Israel may not want that.  Prime Minister Rabin 
said yesterday on "Meet the Press," "First and foremost, forget about 
U.N. troops.  No U.N. troops, no foreign troops, will be included in 
this agreement."

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, we have to separate the things we're 
talking about.  We're talking about the agreement today between the 
Palestinians and the Israelis, and I think there are no foreign troops 
contemplated in that.

As to whether or not there might be some United States troops involved 
if there's an agreement between Syria and Israel, that's something for 
tomorrow.  Today we ought to celebrate today's event.

QUESTION:  What do you see as a major role for the United States in 
making sure today's event becomes a reality?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  We'll be working on the implementation of the 
agreement, once again providing our help as an intermediary.  We'll also 
be trying to collect some funds so that the Palestinians are able to 
accept the early empowerment that's permitted to them under the 

QUESTION:  Where are you going to get those funds?  SECRETARY 
CHRISTOPHER:  Well, I think we'll be particularly going to the countries 
in the Middle East who have such a stake in it -- the Gulf countries, 
including Saudi Arabia -- but I think around the entire world.  For 
example, the Europeans are very supportive, the Nordic countries.  You 
talked to Foreign Minister Holst, who deserves lots of credit for what 
went on here.  They want to be supportive.  The Japanese -- I met with 
Foreign Minister Hata last night.  They want to help, so it will be a --

QUESTION:  What about the U.S.?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  The United States will be involved as well.  We 
always do our share.

QUESTION:  What or how much credit, if any, should the U.S. get for 

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I think the credit really belongs to the parties 
themselves who took the chances for peace.  The United States is a 
sponsor of this.  We've gotten the negotiations back on track a couple 
of times when they were about to go off track, but the credit belongs to 
the parties themselves.

I think all of us would say that credit is not what is important.  It's 
the accomplishment itself, Katie.

MS. KATIE COURIC:  All right, Secretary of State Warren Christopher, 
thanks very much.  Good to see you.

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Thanks very much, Katie.  Thank you.

                              # # #

 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman

                           INTERVIEW OF               SECRETARY OF STATE 
WARREN CHRISTOPHER                                 ON                      

                        September 13, 1993

 RALPH BEGLEITER:  Earlier this morning, Secretary of State Warren 
Christopher talked with Senior White House correspondent, Wolf Blitzer.  
And Blitzer asked him, why -- what is it about this agreement that is 
going to convince the parties -- the Israelis and the Arabs -- that this 
is just the beginning of the peace settlement, not the end of a process?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, I would think the most important thing we 
can do, with respect to the Israelis, is to underscore our commitment to 
their security.  This in no way diminishes our commitment to Israel.  
Indeed, when Israel is going to take risks for peace, I think the United 
States is willing to put its prestige and its resources on the line to 
be helpful.

Throughout the Arab world, I think what we can do is to show that we 
want to help the parties implement this agreement. We can lead the way 
in trying to arrange some funds for the Palestinians so they can accept 
the early empowerment that's called for in the agreement. I think those 
are the kind of things the United States can do with its power and 
prestige around the world.

WOLF BLITZER:  Have you already started raising funds for Palestinian 
economic development among the Europeans, the Japanese, the Arab Gulf 

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Yes. we've been talking to a number of them. I 
met with Foreign Minister Hata of Japan last night -- the new Foreign 
Minister -- and we discussed this at length.  And he assured me that 
Japan would be helpful in this way.  We have certainly been talking with 
the Gulf States, including Saudi Arabia, about this and they will be 
helpful as well.

MR. BLITZER:  Are the Saudis, the Kuwaitis ready to forget about PLO 
support for Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War, and leave that aside, 
and now go ahead and contribute presumably billions of dollars that will 
be necessary to develop the West Bank and Gaza? SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  
Well, memories do linger and I couldn't say they would forget about it.  
But, as you know, King Fahd indicated to President Clinton over the 
weekend that they would be supportive.  And I think putting it behind 
them is the right phrase to use, as you did, Wolf.  They're willing to 
put it to one side and to recognize this new reality and be supportive 
of this new reality.

MR. BLITZER:  When can we expect Secretary of State Warren Christopher 
to return to the Middle East or go elsewhere to do something to get the 
ball rolling?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  That really depends upon the parties.  I'm ready 
to do it again, if the parties want me to be there.  If the Palestinians 
-- I'm sorry, if the Syrians or the Lebanese or the Israelis ask me to 
come back to the region, I certainly will.  Our rule is to facilitate 
the process.  We're not going to be volunteers in the matter, except to 
tell them we're ready whenever they want us.

MR. BLITZER:  Today's event -- diplomatically, it must have been a 
protocol nightmare.  I take it there's not going to be any flags here, 
no national anthems -- why?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, we've had a busy weekend with that.  You 
know, we didn't know until last Friday that this event was going to take 
place.  And so, we've been making a lot of adjustments, making a lot of 
last minute preparations.  The reason there won't be any flags or any 
national anthems is because the Palestinians, the PLO, is not a state at 
this point.  And so, I think the best way to resolve that problem is 
simply to have no flags and no national anthems.

But don't misunderstand, this is going to be a serious, historic 
ceremony.  And the fact that Mr. Arafat is here and Prime Minister Rabin 
is here, I think, gives it a good deal of concreteness.  It cements the 
commitments of both parties.  It puts Mr. Arafat on the line to carry 
out the parties -- and to go forward with his commitment to end terror 
in the Middle East and discipline the PLO.  And that's very important to 
all of the world.

MR. BLITZER:  Do you anticipate that if there are terrorist incidents in 
the West Bank and Gaza that Yassir Arafat will publicly condemn them? 

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Yes, I think he should.  I expect that he will.  
He's got a great stake in this agreement.  You know, all of the world 
will be seeing him in here today committing himself to carry out both 
the Declaration of Principles as well as the Agreement of Mutual 
Recognition.  And so, his being here, I think, gives him a stake in 
making sure it's successful.

MR. BLITZER:  Can you believe you're here?  Did you ever believe you 
would witness this kind of an event?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  We're all just blinking our eyes about it.  It's 
come on so rapidly. It's really a moment that takes your breath away.

MR. BEGLEITER:  Actually, right now, is probably another moment that's 
taking the U.S. Secretary of State's breath away.  He's back at the 
White House now, and in a few moments will be having a meeting that 
involves Presidents Carter, Clinton, and Bush; Prime Minister Rabin; and 
the PLO leader, Yassir Arafat -- all in one room at the same time.  We 
won't see any pictures of that right away, but it is going to take place 
-- and that would be an historic moment.

(# # #)

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