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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

                               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 
Yasser Arafat? 
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 
Palestinian Authority. 
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 
a head?  
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 
his choosing.   
Thank you. 
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