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U.S. Department of State
96/10/06 Press Conference with Chairman Arafat, Jerusalem
Office of the Spokesman
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release October 6, 1996
JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE
WITH CHAIRMAN ARAFAT AND U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE
October 6, 1996
CHAIRMAN ARAFAT: We had the privilege to meet with His Excellency this
evening, especially his visiting us after our very important discussion,
which had been fixed during the summit conference which took place in
Washington, at the White House, under the supervision of his excellency,
President Clinton. We have, to thank and repeat again, our thanks from
our hearts to His Excellency, President Clinton, for what he has done,
especially the courageous step for this meeting, which took place in
Washington, in a very essential and very important period. Also, the
visit of His Excellency, Mr. Christopher, his delegation, the part of
the summit conference and the American effort to protect and to push
forward the peace process. We have here to repeat, in his presence,
that we are committed to the peace process and we will do all our best
from our side to follow-up with the peace process. Also, we hope that
the other side -- the Israeli -- especially, will follow-up on the same
line for the accurate and honest implementation of what has been agreed
I have to repeat again my thanks for your presence, which will give us
more support to push forward the peace process. Please convey to his
excellency, President Clinton, my best regards and best thanks from our
hearts for what he is doing to protect the peace process and to push it.
Many thanks, many thanks, many thanks.
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Well, Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, I have
just concluded a valuable meeting with the Chairman. One that I hope
will contribute to making progress in the days ahead as the negotiations
resume. President Clinton asked me to come out here to meet with both
the Prime Minister and the Chairman, to work with them to try to ensure
progress in the negotiations.
I think the recent violence underscores and makes it absolutely
important that the parties address their differences quickly, and that
they do so in a way to find areas of agreement between them. One of the
things that has been clarified during my visit here is that the parties
intend to negotiate within the four corners of the agreement. They
intend to take steps toward implementation that are consistent with the
agreement and do not seek to modify it. I think that is an important
clarification that the Prime Minister made both in private and in public
today in Jerusalem. I have stressed to both parties that it is
important that they understand each other's needs and requirements and
work hard to find mutual interests. I think it is so essential that
both parties in this negotiation emerge as winners, otherwise both will
be losers. There can be no peace for the Israelis or the Palestinians
without security and there certainly can be no security without peace.
The peace process offers the Palestinians the historic opportunity that
they so long desired to build their own political and economic
institutions. The peace process offers them an opportunity to end the
conflict and confrontation and to replace it with a true reconciliation
between the parties. Much, much progress has been made in the last
three years and much more progress is within reach if we don't fail in
The United States will continue to support these negotiations in every
way that we know how. I have asked Dennis Ross and his experienced team
to work with both sides in the coming days to help them reach agreement.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for meeting with me tonight and I wish you the
very best of luck and good fortune in the days of negotiation ahead.
QUESTION (in Arabic*): The negotiations will start in an hour. Do you
expect any progress to come out of them?
CHAIRMAN ARAFAT (in Arabic*): We hope, as I said, that the other party
abides by the accurate and honest implementation of what has been signed
and agreed upon. In this respect, I have to point out that Mr. Dennis
Ross will follow through with us on these negotiations which will take
place tonight and continue over the next few days to reach the basic
form which can bring about success as well as protect the peace process.
In this respect, I have to refer to the visit of European Union
representative Dick Spring from Ireland, as well as the efforts made by
Egypt and President Mubarak, in this respect.
QUESTION (In Arabic*): ...the role of the United States in advancing the
peace process, particularly when the United States ...(inaudible).
CHAIRMAN ARAFAT (in Arabic*): Do not forget that the agreements were
signed at the White House under the auspices of President Clinton. The
United States is one of the two sponsors of the conference. The co-
sponsor is Russia. We should not forget that President Clinton took
that brave and important step at the conference which he held a short
while ago at the American White House. This effort, which President
Clinton is undertaking, is being followed through by Mr. Christopher,
Mr. Dennis Ross and the accompanying delegation.
QUESTION: Chairman Arafat, have you heard anything new in your
discussions, this evening, that gives heart or greater optimism about
the success of these talks, and secondly, do you think it is possible
that there will be any significant progress or breakthrough before the
CHAIRMAN ARAFAT: Their presence, no doubt, is very important for the
peace process, and their efforts, you can not forget, because the
continuity of their efforts will protect the peace process. I am sure
QUESTION: Mr. Netanyahu has said he will not reopen the agreement.
Your officials have always accused the Israelis of trying to renegotiate
Hebron. Are you now convinced that the Israelis will not try to open an
agreement which has already been signed? Are you convinced?
CHAIRMAN ARAFAT: It is better not to speak about these matters before
this meeting which will take place this evening in the presence of Mr.
Dennis Ross, and we will not be alone, as I have mentioned.
QUESTION: Are you more confident...?
CHAIRMAN ARAFAT: We will have to wait and see.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, you have said twice today that it's important
that no agreement can be reached if there are one winner and one loser,
and that both sides have to be winners. If this is true, why was the
White House summit perceived as having a winner and a loser. And how
will you prevent that from happening in these negotiations?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Carol, with all due respect to you and your
colleagues, I think that was perception of the press. Both parties
gained important results from the Washington meeting. They had an
opportunity to get to know each other better, which is by no means
insignificant in this matter. They pledged themselves to renounce
violence; most importantly, they committed themselves to these very
negotiations that will start tonight, intensively, continuously, and
with U.S. participation. That's something that from our standpoint is a
positive result for both parties.
QUESTION: Chairman Arafat, it seems clear that the perception was that
you came away from the summit in Washington with nothing; there was no
agreement other than to keep talking. If an agreement is not reached
within a few weeks, do you think that the violence will explode again?
And for Secretary Christopher, are you also worried that the violence
could resume if an agreement is not reached soon?
CHAIRMAN ARAFAT: First of all, it is very important to put into your
consideration that the whole atmosphere is not easy, and for this we
have to do all our best to achieve something concrete from these talks,
especially, in the presence of Mr. Dennis Ross with us, according to the
wishes of President Clinton. No doubt it will achieve something which
will protect and save the peace process.
QUESTION: And if something is not achieved, will the violence flair up
CHAIRMAN ARAFAT: You have to ask the other side, not me.
QUESTION: Are you worried that the violence would flair up again, sir?
CHAIRMAN ARAFAT: You have to ask the other side.
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: As I said earlier today, the situation is
somewhat calmer. The closure is beginning to be eased, but it is still
a dangerous situation. That is the reason why we think it is so urgent
for the parties to make progress in these negotiations and to achieve
some tangible results. The Chairman told me he was doing everything he
could to introduce and ensure that calm would remain, but I think the
dangers in the situation are quite clear to all. I think that is why
the President invited the parties to Washington -- a really quite
unusual moment for him to have done that -- and I think that we all need
to try to strive to achieve progress here so as to minimize the risks of
violence in the future.
Thank you very much.
* Translated by U.S.I.S. staff
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