95/09/29 Remarks: U.S.-Israel-Palestinian Trilateral  Return to: Index of 1995 Secretary of State's Speeches/Testimonies || Electronic Research Collections Index || ERC Homepage

Note: This Electronic Research Collection is an archive site. For the most current information, please visit the State Department homepage.
U.S. Department of State
95/09/29 Remarks: U.S.-Israel-Palestinian Trilateral
Office of the Spokesman

                         U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                          Office of the Spokesman

                               REMARKS BY
                         PLO CHAIRMAN YASIR ARAFAT
                        FOLLOWING THEIR TRILATERAL

                          Department of State
                            Washington, D.C.
                           September 29, 1995

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Good morning.  I'm very pleased to welcome back 
to the State Department Chairman Arafat and Foreign Minister Peres.  
Yesterday was certainly a great day, and I take this opportunity to 
congratulate them again on their accomplishment and creativity -- I 
guess also I ought to say, considering the kind of a day it was, their 
endurance and staying power.

This morning we have the first meeting of the U.S.-Israel-Palestinian 
trilateral commission.  This commission is called for in the agreement 
that was signed yesterday and it does underscore the role of the United 
States as a full partner in this process.  There is a similar 
trilateral commission between the United States, Jordan, and Israel, 
and that's proved to be very valuable, and so this will follow in those 

In our meeting this morning, the parties agreed that the new commission 
would have, among others, the following purposes.  First, to promote 
cooperative efforts, both public and private in character, to foster 
economic development in not only Gaza, but, of course, the entire West 
Bank now.  This would include the establishment of industrial zones and 
other projects of great interest to the people such as, perhaps, an 
electricity grid or tourism, including hotels.

The second purpose would be to explore the means to increase the 
availability of water resources, both additional resources and the more 
efficient use of water resources.

Third, the commission will consult on matters of mutual interest as to 
ways to best enhance the success of the Interim Agreement that was 
signed yesterday.

Finally, this new commission will promote trilateral cooperation on 
regional issues.  A good one to start on is the regional issue that 
will be posed by the Amman Summit at the end of October.

It is worth emphasizing that this commission does not replace bilateral 
efforts.  Certainly the bilateral efforts will be the primary focus, 
but the trilateral group will seek to support and complement the 
bilateral efforts.  We are going to set up a working group to carry 
forward the activities.  This working group will be under the 
leadership of an experts group.  The experts group will be consisting 
of Dennis Ross, Uri Savir and Abu Alaa, all of whom have the great 
advantage of great familiarity with the document that was signed 
yesterday.  As I say, this experts group will direct the work of 
working groups on specific issues.

As I conclude, let me simply emphasize that this meeting this morning 
emphasizes the continuing commitment of the United States to this 
process, and we'll try to carry that out in the form of this trilateral 
commission, maintaining our long-standing position to help the parties 
achieve a durable peace and to assist the parties who have taken risks 
for peace.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Shimon, and I offer you, Mr. Chairman, an 
opportunity to make a brief comment, and then Foreign Minister Peres.

CHAIRMAN ARAFAT:  First of all, we have to thank His Excellency to give 
us this very important opportunity, and this meeting today is one of 
the most important results of what had been agreed upon yesterday.  We 
hope that what had been mentioned and what had been discussed, 
especially the industrial zones and the water treatment and all other 
projects, will be very soon implemented because we are in need of it, 
as you know.

We hope for that through this coordination between all of us.  And we 
hope that we will have also, besides that, the support and agreement 
with the Jordanians and the Egyptians so that we can have a full 
program in the whole area, including the preparation for the Amman 
Economic Conference, including the investment bank which we have 
discussed together.  But what is important is how to implement 
accurately and honestly and very quickly what has been agreed upon.

I am sure that Your Excellency will push forward with His Excellency, 
Mr. Peres, to get the use of what had been mentioned and has been 
agreed upon.  Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

FOREIGN MINISTER PERES:  I think I owe the world an explanation.  Many 
of our American friends think that we are taking advantage of the White 
House and the lawn of the White House for ceremony-making.  It is not 
the case.

The real case is that the United States is today heading an 
administration for peace.  For many good years the United States was in 
charge of containing the great dangers of our time.  Today the United 
States is the only country in the world that has the mechanism, the 
will, the capacity, the intellectual interest, and the detailed 
knowledge to really run the peace process -- over all the other places 
-- and we are very grateful for it.  I can say from our point of view 
how important this administration is.

Then I would like to add that in between the peace agreement and the 
peace reality lies the economic success.  I think all of us have to 
mobilize the best we can to enable our Palestinian friends not only to 
gain what they have gained in independence in the way of running their 
lives, but also to make their lives happier and wealthier -- both for 
every individual and all of them.  It is for that purpose that we have 
agreed to follow the Jordanian example and create, as the Secretary 
said, a three-party committee.  We have specific ideas, those are 
industrial parks along side the dividing line between us and the 
Palestinians; instead of putting mines, we want to be build occasions 
for cooperation.

The second point is water and electricity.  These are two materials 
that don't submit to politics; neither electricity nor water don't tend 
to be left or right or respect frontiers.  Unless we follow nature, we 
shall lose it.  We want to have a full cooperation in it, including, as 
the Chairman has said, the Jordanians and the Egyptians eventually as 
well.  Then we want to see what can be done in the way of housing and 
in the way of tourism.

May I say that the chairmanship of the United States, the State 
Department, the Secretary of State is of real and important help and 
meaning.  I believe I have to say it, because we created the impression 
that we are busy in ceremonies; ceremonies are just an occasion to 
raise a glass once we have a justification for it.  But, otherwise, we 
have hard work to do, and we are doing it together very well.  Thank 

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, has the Administration decided to provide 
Israel with super computers, and how super are these super computers?  
And, did you make any great headway, you think, in getting countries 
that have been slow in fulfilling their pledges to the new Palestinian 
Authority to kind of get with it, to speed it up at all?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  On the second question, we had a very good 
meeting of the Steering Committee, called the Ad Hoc Liaison Group of 
the Donors Group, or the Assistance Group.  There is very strong motive 
there to assist the parties.

Yesterday's event provides a very strong incentive for donors who might 
have been wondering whether or not they should go forward or might have 
had some concern about the peace process.  Yesterday's event I think 
confirmed that this process is going forward.  I think it will provide 
a spur and an impetus to the parties to pay up their pledges, but more 
important than that, to make some new pledges.

Before long we'll be having a meeting of the actual donors in Europe.  
We haven't fixed a date for that; but at that time I think we'll be 
able to record a series of new pledges.

With respect to the issues involving the super computer, let me simply 
say that they were discussed yesterday and I'm not prepared to make an 
announcement at the present time.  But we do want to be responsive if 
we can on this issue where the technology continues to make the old 
standards relatively obsolete and we have to update the standards 
because of the tremendous improvement or increase in technology.

Barry, you could easily get me out of my depth in terms of dealing with 
that technology.

QUESTION:  I'm out of my depth.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, the Administration's foreign policy people 
are saying it's had a rather good week, and that is perhaps symbolized 
by the two gentlemen who are with you today.  But, you've got two 
friends of the United States asking for a lot help in the future.  The 
Senate today is scheduled to be voting on a bill which would cut 23% 
from your budget.  How much damage would that do to your ability to 
help friends like these, and how much difference would it make to the 
American public if that cut becomes law?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  We have had a good week in foreign policy, but 
it has been a week that reflects work that's gone on for months, indeed 
in some instances years.  It involves investments made over the years, 
and that's the fundamental problem.  The degree of cutback that the 
Senate is proposing, if it makes that deep cut, would impair our 
ability to carry out our diplomacy and carry out American foreign 

I would have to consider closing 50 consulates or embassies around the 
world; we would have to cut back very severely on our overseas 
missions.  Those are the way we do business.  Some people might think 
this is just overhead; but for the State Department, our overseas 
missions, our personnel overseas, that's our stock and trade.  We must 
have universal coverage around the world.

Think how important it is for us to have not only an embassy in Tel 
Aviv but also a consulate in East Jerusalem.  Think how important it is 
for us to have good coverage in places like the former Yugoslavia.  If 
we were without an embassy in Sarajevo and Belgrade and Zagreb, we 
simply couldn't be doing that effective work.  What Congress is doing 
is asking us to provide leadership but not giving us the resources to 
do it.

I would have to say my considered judgment is that that's a real risk 
to American foreign policy, a real risk to our national interests.  I 
think the people of this country would not want to have us impair the 
capacity for us to have our first line of defense, which is our 
diplomats who help create situations where it's not necessary to use 
our American troops.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, all of you called on Syria and Lebanon to 
join the negotiations.  How do you think this is going to happen?  
What's the next step?  And, when are you going to the Middle East?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  We are in the process of considering with the 
parties ways to resume the negotiations.  I think we all have a desire 
to achieve a comprehensive peace.  So many of the speakers referred to 
that yesterday, and I think this is now a moment for us to be reviewing 
our options and considering the most effective ways that we can inject 
a greater vigor and greater determination into that track.  Thank you 
very much.

QUESTION:  (In Arabic, interpreted by Gemal Helal)  Chairman Arafat, 
you signed the agreement yesterday and the detainees haven't been 
released yet.

CHAIRMAN ARAFAT:  (In Arabic, interpreted by Gemal Helal)  We just 
signed the agreement yesterday; do you expect them to be released in 
two or three hours?  You should give it two or three days.
To the top of this page