Return to: Index of 1996 Secretary of State's Speeches/Testimonies ||
Electronic Research Collections Index ||
U.S. Department of State
96/06/25 Press Availability with Israeli Foreign Minister Levy
Office of the Spokesman
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release June 25, 1996
JOINT PRESS AVAILABILITY
WITH U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE, WARREN CHRISTOPHER
ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER, DAVID LEVY
June 25, 1996
FOREIGN MINISTER LEVY (in Hebrew*): First of all I want to welcome
again the Secretary of State on his visit with us. He and his staff of
advisors are always very desirable visitors in this country,
particularly today with the new government which wants to continue and
strengthen the relations between Israel and the United States. Mr.
Christopher has labored day and night in order to advance the peace
process in our region. He is continuing during these days. We will do
everything in our power to enhance the cooperation and the understanding
in advancing the peace process. We touched on and went into depth on
subjects concerning the region, reinforced bilateral understandings, and
touched on global issues that concern the interests of both countries --
Israel and the United States. I want to note, with satisfaction, that
the conversations were good, honest, open and promising. Israel sees in
the United States not only a senior partner which is working toward
stability in the world and in the region, but also a faithful, honest
and strong partner for mutual actions with the government of Israel to
advance the peace process.
We decided on cooperative efforts between the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, in all its departments, and between the Department of State. A
great deal of difficult work is in front of us, but the understanding
and the mutual goal will give us the basis to believe that we will
proceed and will achieve the goal -- secure peace.
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Thank you very much, Mr. Minister. I appreciate
greatly that warm welcome back to Jerusalem which, many of you know, is
one of my favorite cities in the world. On behalf of President Clinton
I want to congratulate you on your appointment as Foreign Minister and
welcome you back to the club of foreign ministers, where you served with
distinction at an earlier time.
As the Minister said, we had a good conversation here, following up the
conversations that we had with the Prime Minister. I think we are on
the road to establishing a solid, working relationship between our
ministries, as well as between our governments. We are together trying
to seek the path toward peace here, peace with security, peace that will
bring to this region the benefits that peace and economic development
can confer. So thank you, Mr. Minister, and I believe this is just the
beginning of a good working relationship between us.
QUESTION: I have two questions, one for Mr. Secretary and one for
Minister David Levy. Mr. Secretary, did you convince Mr. Levy to meet
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: That subject was discussed with the Prime
Minister and the Prime Minister made it clear that there needed to be
good communication between the Palestinian Authority and the Government
of Israel. The Prime Minister emphasized that the lack of communication
would not be one of the problems. We did not discuss specific
individuals that would maintain that communication, but I'm sure that
the Prime Minister will reflect the views of his government and of the
Prime Minister, that we must find good channels to communicate with the
QUESTION (in Hebrew*): Minister Levy, today we heard that you severely
dressed down Ilan Baruch for his meeting with Jibril Rajoub, in which
your meeting with Yasser Arafat was discussed.
FOREIGN MINISTER LEVY (in Hebrew*): Any responsible minister can not be
taken by surprise by what happens in his ministry, in its words or
actions, by hearing of it through the media. It must be authorized; it
must receive permission; then the action is official.
QUESTION (in Hebrew*): Can you tell us that you will meet with Chairman
FOREIGN MINISTER LEVY (in Hebrew*): There are things that have to be
arranged, frameworks that have to be established, and finally we have
already announced that we will talk to the Authority, and we will
conduct negotiations with it.
QUESTION (in Hebrew*): The Authority is Yasser Arafat?
FOREIGN MINISTER LEVY (in Hebrew*): Do you know of an authority without
QUESTION: Did you have the chance today to discuss the new Israeli
Government policy on settlements, and what's you're position on that?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: No, I'm going to disappoint you here, as I have
so often before. I think it's not conducive to my role to discuss
specific issues. I came here to try to emphasize the strategic
relationship between the United States and Israel. To emphasize our
desire to play a role in the efforts of all parties to seek peace
negotiations without preconditions, and to prepare the visit of the
Prime Minister to Washington. Beyond that, I don't want to get into
specific issues because I think it would not be conducive to our playing
our most effective role.
QUESTION (in Hebrew*): Mr. Levy, with your permission, a further
question on the subject of Ilan Baruch, Head of the Autonomy Division.
The man's job is to meet with the Palestinian Authority, and that's what
he did. I would like to understand what message there is in knowing
that you dressed down the head of the Autonomy Division who met, in
performing his job, with members of the Palestinian Authority. What
message are you sending to the Palestinian Authority and to the world
regarding your policy?
FOREIGN MINISTER LEVY (in Hebrew*): The message that we are sending is
that we see in the Palestinian Authority a negotiating partner. Things
need to be organized within the framework that we are now in the process
of establishing. On the other hand, an official who did not receive
permission and is not authorized, can not go ahead with a personal idea
without the Minister knowing anything about it. It is pointless.
Everything will be determined through decision and choice. When the
meeting takes place it will yield results. And I intend, certainly, to
work to initiate those frameworks so that we can have a dialogue, a
negotiation, in a way that will yield fruit and not as an accident and
not as a complaint, but as policy, meaning that there is ministerial
responsibility -- the minister will establish the policy at the time of
To the top of this page