Question of Palestine home
Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
1 November 1991
OF THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT
AND THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
Issue 7 - October 1991
Peace Conference on the Middle East
New York, November 1991
Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iii
Excerpts from the address of Prime Minister Itzhak Shamir
to the Knesset, Jerusalem, 7 October 1991 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Excerpts from the address of King Hussein of Jordan to the
Jordanian General National Congress, Amman, 12 October 1991 . . . . . . 2
Joint statement on the restoration of diplomatic relations
between the USSR and Israel, Jerusalem, 18 October 1991 . . . . . . . . 6
Text of the invitation to the Middle East Peace Conference,
18 October 1991 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Remarks by the United Nations Secretary-General on the Middle East
Peace Conference, United Nations Headquarters, 19 October 1991. . . . . 7
Statement by Arab Foreign Ministers on the
Middle East Peace Conference, Damascus, 24 October 1991 . . . . . . . . 8
Remarks by the United Nations Secretary-General on the Middle East
Peace Conference, United Nations Headquarters, 29 October 1991. . . . . 8
Statements made at the opening session of the Middle East
Peace Conference, Madrid, 30 October - 1 November 1991. . . . . . . . . 9
Prime Minister of Spain, Felipe Gonzalez. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
United States President, George H. Bush . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
USSR President, Mikhail S. Gorbachev. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Representative of the European Community, Hans van den Broek. . . . . . 16
Foreign Minister of Egypt, Amre M. Moussa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Prime Minister of Israel, Itzhak Shamir . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Foreign Minister of Jordan, Kamel Abu Jaber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Palestinian representative, Haidar Abdel Shafi. . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Foreign Minister of Lebanon, Fares Boueiz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Foreign Minister of the Syrian Arab Republic, Farouk al-Sharaa. . . . . 43
Prime Minister of Israel, Itzhak Shamir. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Foreign Minister of Jordan, Kamel Abu Jaber. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Palestinian representative, Haidar Abdel Shafi . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
Foreign Minister of Lebanon, Fares Boueiz. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
Foreign Minister of the Syrian Arab Republic, Farouk al-Sharaa . . . . . 55
Foreign Minister of Egypt, Amre M. Moussa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
Representative of the European Community, Hans van den Broek . . . . . . 59
Foreign Minister of the USSR, Boris D. Pankin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
United States Secretary of State, James A. Baker . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
Notes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Annex. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
In April 1991, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People requested that the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat prepare urgently and update regularly, for the use of the Committee members and observers, a compilation of relevant recent statements, declarations and proposals regarding the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the question of Palestine and the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East. The first issue of the compilation, prepared in response to the decision of the Committee, appeared the same month.
Note should be made that reproduced herein are only those parts of the statements, declarations, proposals and initiatives, quoted or summarized, which relate to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the question of Palestine.
Excerpts from the address of Prime Minister Itzhak Shamir
to the Knesset, Jerusalem, 7 October 1991
On 7 October 1991, in his speech at the opening of the winter session of the Knesset, Prime Minister of Israel, Itzhak Shamir, said,
"Mr. Chairman, it has fallen to us to live in a time when many events of great historic import have taken place in a short period. Many generations of our predecessors would probably be jealous of our good fortune to experience such exciting and uplifting events, events that were yearned for and prayed for, and that only we have lived to witness. The gathering of the Jewish diaspora and the building of Eretz Yisrael -- the two pillars of the Jewish visions -- have reached unprecedented heights in the recent period. The gates of the Soviet Union are wide open and the
from there is continuing steadily. The Ethiopian diaspora is disappearing. Thousands of immigrants are being absorbed in Eretz Yisrael with open arms by the governmental institutions, by volunteer organizations, and by the general public. Since the current immigration wave began in the middle of 1989, approximately 357,000 immigrants -- and may there be many more -- have arrived.
"Israel is committed to the Camp David Accords. We have accordingly held talks with the US Secretary of State and his aides about the following guidelines:
"First, following a ceremonial opening session, bilateral and direct talks will commence with each of Israel's neighbours to reach a contractual peace agreement.
"Second, we will hold talks with a Jordanian-Palestinian delegation that will include representatives of the Arab residents of Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip to reach agreement on an interim arrangement for a period of five years that will constitute the implementation of the autonomy plan according to the Camp David Accords. We attach great importance to the participation of Jordan in this process.
"Third, we will participate in multilateral meetings on regional issues such as the resettlement of refugees, regional security, water and environmental issues, economic development and so forth. As we made clear to our American interlocutors and as we agreed with them, at no stage will the PLO, the terrorist organization, have a foothold in the peace process. The Palestinian component in the Jordanian-Palestinian delegation must be agreed upon in advance with Israel, and if the representatives at any stage declare that they were appointed by the PLO terror organization, or that they represent it, Israel will not sit with them.
"We have always opposed the internationalization of the process and convening international conferences... in which the Arab countries would appear with their allies and supporters and try to pass decisions similar to those adopted by the automatic majority that always stood at their disposal in the United Nations. It was agreed, therefore, to convene a ceremonial opening conference of one to two days, in which the representatives of the various parties and the sponsors would make speeches, and which would later be dispersed. This opening forum would have no authority whatsoever. It is true that we were told that the conference would be able to reconvene if this was acceptable to all parties; Israel, however, for its part, declared that there was no need or justification for its continued existence for any purpose whatsoever, and that we would not support its reconvening. No conference will be able to resolve issues that the parties cannot agree upon in direct and bilateral negotiations.
"If our neighbours focus solely on territorial issues, we will know that this is why they joined the process and that they do not really aspire to make peace, and we shall draw the necessary conclusions. Our positions regarding the process are well known. The autonomy plan will be implemented in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip according the Camp David Accords. In the Golan Heights, however, Israel law has been in force since 1981. We applied Israeli law out of the clear recognition, shared by almost all political elements in Israel, that the Golan is a vital component of Israel's defence. The situation that has prevailed for the past 10 years will continue to guide us without any change. It goes without saying that the issue of Jerusalem -- there is no East Jerusalem or West Jerusalem, but only one united Jerusalem -- will not be discussed in negotiations. Jerusalem, the city of peace, will evermore remain an undivided city and the capital of Israel and the Jewish people.
"We agreed to direct negotiations based on UN resolutions 242 and 338. The Camp David Accords stipulated the ways to implement those two decisions. The Arab countries have turned those two resolutions into an entire series of imperatives by elevating the clause on withdrawal from territories to a supreme and automatically binding decree. Those interpretations are baseless. The operational bottom line of resolutions 242 and 338 is that negotiations are to be held for the purpose of reaching a just and durable peace. The other clauses are no more than mere guidelines. Various sides can have their own interpretations of those two clauses, and our stance, which rejects the territories-for-peace formula, has a firm foundation."
Excerpts from the address of King Hussein of Jordan
to the Jordanian General National Congress, Amman, 12 October 1991
On 12 October 1991, King Hussein of Jordan addressed the session of the Jordanian General National Congress. He stated the following, among other things:
"Peace is essential to us in leading a normal life, which is the legitimate right of every individual, in order to dream, work and plan for himself and his family, to raise his standard of living free from fear, worry and confusion. It is also the legitimate right of each nation in order to develop and progress, secure against threat and the exhaustion of the country's capabilities and resources.
"I am confident that it is no surprise to you that I should be talking about all of this. We have been discussing the peace issue for a long time. We have made it a symbol for a better life for future generations. In light of the developments of the Palestinian problem with all its attendant pain, complications and the sacrifices made by this steadfast homeland, peace has become a national objective that we have striven to attain and a political strategic foundation upon which to proceed.
"On this basis, we have played a central role at both the Arab and world levels. For over a quarter of a century, we were among the first to initiate efforts or contribute to them to promote a solution to the Palestinian problem and a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
"Consequently, we have since 1967 responded positively to every peace initiative that was based on international legitimacy. We welcomed President Bush's speech to the US Congress on 6 March in which he declared his determination to end the Arab-Israeli conflict and to resolve the Palestinian problem on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 and the principle of land for peace as well as the restoration of the legitimate political rights of the Palestinian people and assuring security for all countries of the region.
"It would be useful to review a number of important aspects on the basis of which the peace conference will be convened.
"Concerning the facts, events and developments:
"First, let me remind you of a fact I previously made reference to; namely, that no observer closely scrutinizing the graph of the Palestine question can fail to notice its steady decline. Since the 1930s, and despite the fairness of the Palestinian cause, what could have been achieved out of any peace opportunity has always proved to be less than that offered by the preceding one. If there is any significance to this, it can only mean that our grasp, as Arabs and Palestinians, of the regional and international situation at every peace opportunity had always fallen short of what was required. Indeed, we have failed to deal with the events within the framework of what is possible and reasonable, which resulted in the loss of one opportunity after another. This led to a situation wherein 65 per cent of the West Bank territories have been confiscated by Israel and wherein the plight of the Palestinian people today is one best described as dispersion and uncertainty in the diaspora and increased suffering and hardship in the occupied territories.
"Second, the present Israeli leadership feels itself to be the only beneficiary from the continuation of the status quo; that is, the state of no-war no-peace, a situation Israel is exploiting to bring about changes on the ground.
"There are three facts that encourage Israel to cling to this status quo, facts with which we are familiar and about which we worry on a daily basis:
"1. The continuous flow of Soviet Jews by the tens of thousands.
"2. The establishment of new settlements.
"3. Raising funds from outside sources in order to absorb these immigrants.
"Such facts, as plainly evident, are of a dynamic nature and not simply transient. Only a just peace based on international legitimacy can put an end to this ever growing evil, which is leading to the seizure of territories and to the dispersion of the Palestinians by uprooting and expelling them.
"Third, the collapse of communism and its alliance and the consequent breakdown of the world balance of power led to the end of the cold war and the world order, which was essentially based on bipolarity. The world headed toward peace, nuclear disarmament, reduction of armies, reduction or elimination of some weapons of mass destruction, the settlement of all regional conflicts and the protection of the world environment.
"Regarding the effect of this state of affairs on the Middle East, the Soviet Union has shifted from the position of a rival to that of a partner of the United States in the proposed peace process. This shift was effected by a shared concept of the two countries of a new world order succeeding the cold war era. The Soviet Union has also ceased to be a source of threat to Western, and particularly US interests in the region -- a fact that has deprived Israel of its most significant asset, namely being the United States' strategic ally in confronting the Soviet Union.
"Fourth, the collapse of the Arab order and the disequilibrium in the Middle East balances of power as a result of the Gulf crisis. This led to new alliances and a clear drift towards regionalism, something which left a direct impact on the way the Arabs dealt with the Palestine question, as well as on the security considerations of each Arab country.
"Fifth, Jordanians and Palestinians are besieged and they are the parties directly harmed by the continuation of the status quo of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
"Sixth, the increased US interest in post-Gulf war stability in the Middle East -- a stability based on the settlement of conflicts and the treatment of their root causes and not one merely based on the containment and management of crises as has been the case until quite recently. This development, within the context of establishing and consolidating stability, emanated from two factors:
"1. The end of the cold war era and the beginning of a new phase in which all indications show that competition will essentially be economic and scientific but not military as was the case in the preceding era.
"2. The consequences of the Gulf war, which emphasized the need to provide stability not only in the oil States but in the neighbouring countries are diverse. Some are political, some are economic and others are racial and sectarian. In any event, the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian issue are in the forefront.
"All these events and developments and the regional and international interactions they have entailed, subsequently brought about one essential outcome, namely the renewal of efforts in an attempt to arrive at a peaceful settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Hence came the US-Soviet initiative to convene a Middle East peace conference. Thus, the Arabs and the rest of the world meet in their mutual desire and interest to find a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
"I deem it useful to survey a number of important elements that compose the general framework of the peace conference.
"First, peace negotiations will take place on two tracks. The first is Palestinian-Israeli. The second is Arab-Israeli, through bilateral committees formed for this purpose. There will be a Syrian-Israeli committee, a Lebanese-Israeli committee and a joint Jordanian/Palestinian-Israeli committee.
"I would like now to reaffirm the Jordanian position regarding Palestinian participation. Jordan, which had taken disengagement decision in 1988, prefers Palestinian participation to take place on the basis of an Israeli-Palestinian committee, that is, an independent Palestinian delegation to attend the conference. However, Jordan has no objection to providing an umbrella for the Palestinian delegation under which they can attend the conference through a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation, if this would help in the convening of the conference, and if the Palestinian leadership accepts this procedure.
"Second, regional issues of common interest to the countries of the region will be discussed in a third expanded committee -- a committee in which countries other than those taking part in bilateral negotiations, including the Gulf Cooperation Council States, would participate. Among such regional issues are: resolving water and environmental problems, reducing weapons of mass destruction, and effecting social and economic balance among the peoples of the area through joint comprehensive development programmes.
"Third, UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 shall form the basis on which the conference will convene and the basis on which negotiations will be conducted. The conference will convene under the auspices of the United States of America and the Soviet Union, and will include a representative of the EC Presidency as well as a representative of the UN Secretary-General. The United States and the Soviet Union will inform the UN Secretary-General of the progress of the negotiations.
"Fourth, agreements arrived at by the negotiating parties shall eventually be referred to the United Nations.
"Fifth, a Jordanian shall head the joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation, but the Jordanians in the delegation shall negotiate the Jordanian dimension, while the Palestinians shall discuss the Palestinian dimensions. The bilateral talks will afford both the Jordanian and Palestinian teams with an opportunity to present the central issues of mutual concern.
"Sixth, the conference will provide all parties, including Jordan and the Palestinians, with an opportunity to make a full statement of their views.
"Seventh, any party at the conference has the right to raise any issue or subject it deems desirable and no other party shall have the right to object to any person attending or to anything said. Accordingly, any Arab or Palestinian position can be made known with all force and clarity without the slightest reservation.
"Eighth, the Palestinian dimension shall be the only one discussed in two phases: the first is that of the agreement on the elements of the transitional period; and the second is that of agreement over the final status. There is a link between the two stages, represented by the commencement of negotiations on the second phase at the beginning of the third year of the implementation of the first phase. Final status negotiations shall include the subject of Arab Jerusalem to which the provisions of UN Security Council resolution 242 apply, in the same way the said provisions apply to the occupied West Bank.
"Ninth, a core principle is that the terms of reference agreed upon for the first stage of negotiations will not affect or prejudge the way issues are resolved in the later stage, the stage of the final solution, and this is a basic principle.
"Tenth, UN Security Council resolution 242, as understood by the United States, the USSR and the world, is applicable to all the Arab territories occupied in the 1967 war, including Arab Jerusalem. Resolution 242, as understood by these parties, is based on the principle of land for peace, and on the termination of the Israeli occupation of the Arab territories. The final status of Jerusalem, as far as the US position is concerned, will be determined by negotiations providing that Jerusalem will not be divided as it had been prior to the 1967 war.
"Eleventh, the United States assured Jordan that it shall do its utmost that negotiations pertaining to the transitional period will be concluded in one year. This means that it is not improbable for us to witness, within one year from the commencement of negotiations, the beginning of the termination of Israeli occupation, thus enabling our Palestinian brethren in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to take up their responsibilities of self-rule.
"These are the most significant features of the proposed peace conference. As may be noticed, these features contain basic general principles such as adherence to the formula of land for peace, the application of resolution 242 to all occupied Arab territories, including Jerusalem. These features also include some details, particularly those concerning Palestinian participation."
Joint statement on the restoration of diplomatic relations
between the USSR and Israel, Jerusalem, 18 October 1991
On 18 October 1991, at Jerusalem, Mr. Vitaly Churkin, spokesman for the Foreign Minister of the USSR, Mr. Boris D. Pankin, made the following statement:
"Desiring to promote cooperation and mutual understanding in the interests of the two nations, the USSR and the State of Israel have decided to restore their diplomatic relations as of the date of issuance of this joint statement and exchange diplomatic representations at the level of embassies. The two sides state their readiness to maintain their bilateral relations in accordance with the UN Charter, rules of international law, and on the basis of equality, mutual respect for sovereignty and non-interference in each other's domestic affairs. The two sides firmly believe that the reestablishment of full diplomatic relations between the USSR and the State of Israel fully serves the interests of a comprehensive settlement in the Middle East, the establishment of a lasting peace and stability in this region and further development of international cooperation.
Jerusalem, October 18, 1991."
Text of the Invitation to the Middle East Peace Conference
18 October 1991
The Jerusalem Post
of 21 October 1991, the following text of the invitation to the Middle East Peace Conference was jointly issued by the United States and the USSR on 18 October 1991:
"After extensive consultations with Arab States, Israel and the Palestinians, the United States and the Soviet Union believe that a historic opportunity exists to advance the prospects for genuine peace throughout the region. The United States and the Soviet Union are prepared to assist the parties to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement, through direct negotiations along two tracks, between Israel and the Arab States, and between Israel and the Palestinians, based on United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338. The objective of this process is real peace.
"Toward that end, the President of the US and the President of the USSR invite you to a peace conference, which their countries will co-sponsor, followed immediately by direct negotiations. The conference will be convened in Madrid on October 30, 1991.
"President Bush and President Gorbachev request your acceptance of this invitation no later than 6 p.m. Washington time, October 23, 1991, in order to ensure proper organization and preparation of the conference.
"Direct bilateral negotiations will begin four days after the opening of the conference. Those parties who wish to attend multilateral negotiations will convene two weeks after the opening of the conference to organize those negotiations. The co-sponsors believe that those negotiations will focus on region-wide issues such as arms control and regional security, water, refugee issues, environment, economic development and other subjects of mutual interest.
"The co-sponsors will chair the conference which will be held at ministerial level. Governments to be invited include Israel, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Palestinians will be invited and attend as part of a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation. Egypt will be invited to the conference as a participant. The European Community will be a participant in the conference, alongside the United States and the Soviet Union and will be represented by its presidency. The Gulf Cooperation Council will be invited to send its Secretary-General to the conference as an observer, and GCC member States will be invited to participate in organizing the negotiations on multilateral issues. The United Nations will be invited to send an observer, representing the Secretary-General.
"The conference will have no power to impose solutions on the parties or veto agreements reached by them. It will have no authority to make decisions for the parties and no ability to vote on issues or results. The conference can reconvene only with the consent of all the parties.
"With respect to negotiations between Israel and Palestinians who are part of the joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation, negotiations will be conducted in phases, beginning with talks on interim self-government arrangements. These talks will be conducted with the objective of reaching agreement within one year. Once agreed the interim self-government arrangements will last for a period of five years. Beginning the third year of the period of interim self-government arrangements, negotiations will take place on permanent status. These permanent status negotiations, and the negotiations between Israel and the Arab States, will take place on the basis of resolutions 242 and 338.
"It is understood that the co-sponsors are committed to making this process succeed. It is their intention to convene the conference and negotiations with those parties who agree to attend.
"The co-sponsors believe that this process offers the promise of ending decades of confrontation and conflict and the hope of a lasting peace. Thus, the co-sponsors hope that the parties will approach these negotiations in a spirit of good will and mutual respect. In this way, the peace process can begin to break down the mutual suspicions and mistrust that perpetuate the conflict and allow the parties to begin to resolve their differences. Indeed, only through such a process can real peace and reconciliation among the Arab States, Israel and the Palestinians be achieved. And only through this process can the peoples of the Middle East attain the peace and security they richly deserve."
Remarks by the United Nations Secretary-General
on the Middle East Peace Conference
United Nations Headquarters, 19 October 1991
On 19 October 1991, at United Nations Headquarters, the United Nations Secretary-General made the following remarks on the Middle East Peace Conference:
"I am very happy that the Conference is taking place, and I am in admiration of what Mr. Baker has done over the months. I think it is a remarkable success, and I am very pleased. I will contribute in the way in which I have been asked to contribute; I will send my Special Representative, Mr. Edouard Brunner, to Madrid, together with a small team, in order to be present during the inauguration of the Conference. As usual, the United Nations is always available to assist in any way towards the success of the Conference."
Statement by Arab Foreign Ministers on the
Middle East Peace Conference, Damascus, 24 October 1991
On 24 October 1991, a statement was issued at Damascus by seven Arab Foreign Ministers. In the statement the Foreign Ministers outlined their position with regard to the Middle East Peace Conference to be held at Madrid:
"The five Arab parties directly concerned with the peace process held a meeting on the ministerial level in Damascus on Wednesday and Thursday, 23 and 24 October 1991, in the presence of His Highness Prince Saud al-Faysal, Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, representative of the Gulf Cooperation Council States; and Dr. Abdellatif Filali, Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Morocco, representative of the Arab Maghreb Union.
"The conferees discussed the topics presented to the peace conference, scheduled to be held in Madrid on 30 October 1991, with the aim of establishing full coordination of the positions of their Governments on these topics and ensuring a unified Arab stance throughout the various stages of the conference and subsequent talks. The meeting achieved its purpose and the conferees agreed that the delegations of the five parties would periodically meet to review the proceedings of the conference and the discussions, and evaluate the progress made in the talks held with any of the five parties during the conference and subsequent talks. The ministers emphasized that the unity of the Arab position should be maintained in order to realize the goals the Arab side seeks during the peace process. Foremost among these goals are Israel's withdrawal from all the occupied Arab territories, including Jerusalem, the immediate halt of settlement activity and securing the Palestinian people's national legitimate rights for the sake of establishing a just and comprehensive peace in the region."
Remarks by the United Nations Secretary-General
on the Middle East Peace Conference
United Nations Headquarters, 29 October 1991
On 29 October 1991, at United Nations Headquarters, the United Nations Secretary-General made the following remarks on the question of the Middle East Peace Conference:
"I am hopeful that something can be achieved. I think it is high time for the world to dedicate its efforts to the solution of the Middle East problem.
"The United Nations doesn't want to make any difficulties for the Conference. I was invited to send an observer and I have sent an observer - Ambassador Brunner, we will see what happens but anyway I hope they will succeed."
Statements made at the Opening session of the Middle East Peace Conference
Madrid, 30 October - 1 November 1991
Prime Minister of Spain, Felipe Gonzales
"On behalf of the Spanish Government, I want to associate myself with the warm welcome expressed to you by His Majesty the King.
"We have been entrusted with the honour and the responsibility of hosting in our country the Middle East Peace Conference. Thus we follow a long-standing tradition in offering you this house as your own. Spain through her long history has known the fruits of coexistence, of tolerance, of peace among the three cultures represented here. The architecture in many corners of our soil, literature, poetry, philosophy and the sciences, still present in our libraries and which are an integral part of our identity, were once the highest expression of civilization and development in the known world. Mutual respect made that possible. Spain has also tasted the bitter results of confrontation and Al Andalus and Serafad remained as indelible memories of happy places for many generations of men and women. That nostalgia has lived into our days. If we have known the fruits of coexistence and the bitter taste of missed opportunities, how can we not now feel the hope of an open path towards peace in that part of the world?
"In the last few years our country has been immersed in a dual process of opening internally and externally. We have tried to leave behind our isolationism and learn to assume the responsibilities that we have inherited through our history, our geography and the understanding that we live in an increasingly interdependent world. Nothing in this world can be foreign to us, and least of all the destiny of a region as close now as yours, a region which has been the cradle of cultures which became interwoven in Spain, contributing to make up her identity.
"We have wondered frequently if the conditions that once made possible fruitful coexistence could perhaps be repeated. A positive or a negative answer to this question would lead to hope or frustration, to peace or conflict, but I hasten to add, we have that hope and we do not want to renounce peace because new conditions exist for the two of them.
"Changes in the world are taking place at lightning speed so much so that it is difficult to follow the pace of the news which keep us up to date, simultaneously, of what is happening in the farthest-reaching corners of the globe. Right here we can witness this new reality. The co-sponsors of this event are two men: President Bush and President Gorbachev who up until yesterday headed two blocs which were faced off ideologically and militarily and who today symbolize the search for international relations with less weapons and greater peace, with less confrontation and greater cooperation, with less violence and greater respect for the rights of individuals and of nations.
"It is imperative to recall the efforts of so very many human beings who for years have worked towards this dialogue which begins today. In the last few months, within the framework of the cooperation which has taken the place of confrontation, it is only fair to point out the concerted efforts of the Secretary of State of the United States and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union. Their skill and their ability have made possible what is, in our opinion, most worthy of noting: the beginning of this process.
"The entire world will hang on every word uttered and of the will shown here. There is a hope which must not be dashed to the ground.
"We are aware of the complexity of the process, but we Spaniards know how cooperation among cultures and the union of collected efforts can generate peaceful coexistence. Peace is the necessary condition. The region has such natural resources and human capital that in an atmosphere where conflict is substituted by cooperation, the development and welfare of all the human beings living there can be guaranteed.
"On the eve of 1992, a year full of events which mark past understandings and misunderstandings, which is pregnant with hope for all, we, as Spaniards, would like to continue to work with you to achieve a peace which is stable, based on justice and which can be a lasting one.
"In welcoming you to our house I call upon your generosity to build peace and for the sake of your friendship with Spain, I beg your understanding for the inevitable imperfections of our organization, which has had to work against the clock.
"I can assure you that we have all worked with great hope, moved by the spirit which you can feel on the streets, now full of traffic. If we can achieve peace, everything will be worthwhile.
"We have made the effort and we will continue to do everything we can to make things easier for you.
"Welcome to Madrid, welcome to Spain, turned today by your presence into the capital and the homeland of peace and hope."
United States President, George H. Bush
"Prime Minister Gonzalez, and President Gorbachev, Excellencies,
"Let me begin by thanking the Government of Spain for hosting this historic gathering. With short notice, the Spanish people and their leaders stepped forward to make available this magnificent setting. Let us hope that this conference of Madrid will mark the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the Middle East.
"I also want to express at the outset my pleasure at the presence of our fellow co-sponsor, President Gorbachev. At a time of momentous challenges at home, President Gorbachev and his senior associates have demonstrated their intent to engage the Soviet Union as a force for positive change in the Middle East. This sends a powerful signal to all those who long for peace.
"We come to Madrid on a mission of hope -- to begin work on a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement to the conflict in the Middle East. We come here to seek peace for a part of the world that in the long memory of man has known far too much hatred, anguish and war. I can think of no endeavour more worthy -- or more necessary.
"Our objective must be clear and straightforward. It is not simply to end the state of war in the Middle East and replace it with a state of nonbelligerency. This is not enough; this would not last. Rather, we week peace, real peace. And by real peace I mean treaties. Security. Diplomatic relations. Economic relations. Trade. Investment. Cultural exchange. Even tourism.
"What we seek is a Middle East where vast resources are no longer devoted to armaments. A Middle East where young people no longer have to dedicate and, all too often, give their lives to combat. A Middle East no longer victimized by fear and terror. A Middle East where normal men and women lead normal lives.
"Let no one mistake the magnitude of this challenge. The struggle we seek to end had a long and painful history. Every life lost -- every outrage, every act of violence -- is etched deep in the hearts and history of the people of this region. Theirs is a history that weights heavily against hope. And yet, history need not be a man's master.
"I expect that some will say that what I am suggesting is impossible. But think back. Who back in 1945 would have thought that France and Germany, bitter rivals for nearly a century, would become allies in the aftermath of World War II? And who two years ago would have predicted that the Berlin Wall would come down? And who in the early 1960s would have believed that the cold war would come to a peaceful end, replaced by cooperation -- exemplified by the fact that the United States and the Soviet Union are here today not as rivals, but as partners, as Prime Minister Gonzalez pointed out.
"No, peace in the Middle East need not be a dream. Peace is possible. The Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty is striking proof that former adversaries can make and sustain peace. And moreover, parties in the Middle East have respected agreements, not only in the Sinai, but on the Golan Heights as well.
"The fact that we are all gathered here today for the first time attests to a new potential for peace. Each of us has taken an important step toward real peace by meeting here in Madrid. All the formulas on paper, all the pious declarations in the world won't bring peace if there is no practical mechanism for moving ahead.
"Peace will only come as the result of direct negotiations, compromise, give-and-take. Peace cannot be imposed from the outside by the United States or anyone else. While we will continue to do everything possible to help the parties overcome obstacles, peace must come from within.
"We come here to Madrid as realists. We do not expect peace to be negotiated in a day, or a week, or a month, or even a year. It will take time; indeed, it should take time -- time for parties so long at war to learn to talk to one another, to listen to one another. Time to heal old wounds and build trust. In this quest, time need not be the enemy of progress.
"What we envision is a process of direct negotiations proceeding along two tracks, one between Israel and the Arab States; the other between Israel and the Palestinians. Negotiations are to be conducted on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338.
"The real work will not happen here in the plenary session, but in direct bilateral negotiations. This conference cannot impose a settlement on the participants or veto agreements; and just as important, the conference can only be reconvened with the consent of every participant. Progress is in the hands of the parties who must live with the consequences.
"Soon after the bilateral talks commence, parties will convene as well to organize multilateral negotiations. These will focus on issues that cross national boundaries and are common to the region: arms control, water, refugee concerns, economic development. Progress in these fora is not intended as a substitute for what must be decided in the bilateral talks; to the contrary, progress in the multilateral issues can help create an atmosphere in which long-standing bilateral disputes can more easily be settled.
"For Israel and the Palestinians, a framework already exists for diplomacy. Negotiations will be conducted in phases, beginning with talks on interim self-government arrangements. We aim to reach agreement within one year. And once agreed, interim self-government arrangements will last for five years; beginning the third year, negotiations will commence on permanent status. No one can say with any precision what the end result will be; in our view, something must be developed, something acceptable to Israel, the Palestinians and Jordan, that gives the Palestinian people meaningful control over their own lives and fate and provides for the acceptance and security of Israel.
"We can all appreciate that both Israelis and Palestinians are worried about compromise, worried about compromising even the smallest point for fear it becomes a precedent for what really matters. But no one should avoid compromise on interim arrangements for a simple reason: nothing agreed to now will prejudice permanent status negotiations. To the contrary, these subsequent negotiations will be determined on their own merits.
"Peace cannot depend upon promises alone. Real peace -- lasting peace -- must be based upon security for all States and peoples, including Israel. For too long the Israeli people have lived in fear, surrounded by an unaccepting Arab world. Now is the ideal moment for the Arab world to demonstrate that attitudes have changed, that the Arab world is willing to live in peace with Israel and make allowances for Israel's reasonable security needs.
"We know that peace must also be based on fairness. In the absence of fairness, there will be no legitimacy -- no stability. This applies above all to the Palestinian people, many of whom have known turmoil and frustration above all else. Israel now has an opportunity to demonstrate that it is willing to enter into a new relationship with its Palestinian neighbours; one predicated upon mutual respect and cooperation.
"Throughout the Middle East, we seek a stable and enduring settlement. We've not defined what this means; indeed, I make these points with no map showing where the final borders are to be drawn. Nevertheless, we believe territorial compromise is essential for peace. Boundaries should reflect the quality of both security and political arrangements. The United States is prepared to accept whatever the parties themselves find acceptable. What we seek, as I said on March 6, is a solution that meets the twin tests of fairness and security.
"I know -- I expect we all know -- that these negotiations will not be easy. I know, too, that these negotiations will not be smooth. There will be disagreements and criticism, setbacks -- who knows -- possibly interruptions. Negotiation and compromise are always painful. Success will escape us if we focus solely upon what is being given up.
"We must fix our vision on what real peace would bring. Peace, after all, means not just avoiding war and the costs of preparing for it. The Middle East is blessed with great resources: physical, financial and, yes, above all, human. New opportunities are within reach -- if we only have the vision to embrace them.
"To succeed, we must recognize that peace is in the interest of all parties --war, absolute advantage of none. The alternative to peace in the Middle East is a future of violence and waste and tragedy. In any future war lurks the danger of weapons of mass destruction. As we learned in the Gulf war, modern arsenals make it possible to attack urban areas -- to put the lives of innocent men, women and children at risk, to transform city streets, schools and children's playgrounds into battlefields.
"Today, we can decide to take a different path to the future -- to avoid conflict. I call upon all parties to avoid unilateral acts, be they words or deeds, that would invite retaliation or, worse yet, prejudice or even threaten this process itself. I call upon all parties to consider taking measures that will bolster mutual confidence and trust -- steps that signal a sincere commitment to reconciliation.
"I want to say something about the role of the United States of America. We played an active role in making this conference possible; both the Secretary of State, Jim Baker, and I will play an active role in helping the process succeed. Toward this end, we've provided written assurances to Israel, to Syria, to Jordan, Lebanon and the Palestinians. In the spirit of openness and honesty, we will brief all parties on the assurances that we have provided to the other. We're prepared to extend guarantees, provide technology and support, if that is what peace requires. And we will call upon our friends and allies in Europe and in Asia to join with us in providing resources so that peace and prosperity go hand in hand.
"Outsiders can assist, but in the end, it is up to the peoples and Governments of the Middle East to shape the future of the Middle East. It is their opportunity and it is their responsibility to do all that they can to take advantage of this gathering, this historic gathering, and what it symbolizes and what it promises.
"No one should assume that the opportunity before us to make peace will remain if we fail to seize the moment. Ironically, this is an opportunity born of war -- the destruction of past wars, the fear of future wars. The time has come to put an end to war -- the time has come to choose peace.
"Speaking for the American people, I want to reaffirm that the United States is prepared to facilitate the search for peace, to be a catalyst, as we've been in the past and as we've been very recently. We seek only one thing, and this we week not for ourselves, but for the peoples of the area and particularly the children: that this and future generations of the Middle East may know the meaning and blessing of peace.
"We have seen too many generations of children whose haunted eyes show only fear -- too many funerals for their brothers and sisters, the mothers and fathers who died too soon -- too much hatred, too little love. And if we cannot summon the courage the lay down the past for ourselves, let us resolve to do it for the children.
"May God bless and guide the work of this conference and may this conference get us on the path of peace. Thank you."
USSR President, Mikhail S. Gorbachev
"Prime Minister Gonzalez, President Bush, ladies and gentlemen,
"I would like to begin by expressing my gratitude to our hosts - the King of Spain and the Spanish Government for their offer of Madrid as the venue for this conference which is so important to the entire world. It would have been difficult to select a better venue from the standpoint of both the country prestige and authority and of geopolitics.
"I welcome here the Presidents of the United States of America, the Arab delegations and observers, the Israeli delegation, the representatives of the European Community and the United Nations Secretary-General.
"The composition of participants as well as the nature and objective of this conference are testimony that we are attending an event of major importance in new world politics.
"The road to it was strewn with thousands of victims and with devastations and calamities suffered by the nations. It was marred by hatred and atrocities. It often came to crossroads fraught with a danger of global explosion.
"This conflict, the longest in the latter half of the 20th century, bears a heavy mark of the cold war. It was not until an end was put to that war that ending this conflict became possible too.
"Enormous efforts were needed, however, to put on track the process of settlement. Those efforts reflected the tremendous potential of good will and responsibility of the statesmen and policy-makers and of all those who became involved in this understanding of global importance.
"For we are dealing with a region which originate many sources of the world's civilization and culture and where the vital interests of today's international community converge, a region inhabited by nations whose genius inspired the greatest achievements of the human spirit.
"Let me say a few words about the role of the two Powers whose Presidents are now before you as co-chairmen of the conference. It was the will of history that unless there had been an improvement and then a radical change in Soviet-American relations, we would not have witnessed the profound qualitative transformations in the world that now make it possible to speak of an entirely new period, a period of peace in world history. Movement in that direction has begun.
"The fact that a realistic hope has emerged for an Arab-Israeli settlement can only be understood in this context.
"Cooperation between the two Powers and other members of the UN Security Council was indispensable to stop the aggression against Kuwait and to reaffirm the effectiveness of the new criteria in international relations. Right after that, just as was agreed between President Bush and me early in September 1990 at our Helskinki meeting on the subject of the Gulf war, vigorous joint efforts began, aimed at achieving a Middle East settlement.
"All that we and the Americans have done to that end signifies that proper conclusions have been drawn from the Gulf war. Our joint participation in the process of settlement was prompted by a desire to offer our good offices, not to impose solutions from outside that would run counter to the national interests of States in the region."
"Thus, as a result of major bilateral and multilateral efforts a signal was sent to the parties involved in the conflict that they need to negotiate, to work together toward finding a realistic balance of interests which alone may form the foundation of a durable peace.
"Today we have a unique chance. It would be unforgivable to miss this opportunity. Success is in everybody's interest not only because the rights of the peoples and nations and of individuals are increasingly recognized today as a universal foundation of the world order, but also for another reason of particular urgency and gravity. The Middle East has become one of the most heavily armed regions of the world, where lethal weapons and nuclear technologies are spreading and where other weapons of mass destruction are also present.
"This is a justified cause for alarm. The international community is entitled to expect that this conference will come up with decisions that will put to rest this concern. In my view, the conference can only succeed if no one seeks a victory over the other side but all seek a common victory over the cruel past. I am speaking of peace rather than a cessation of the state of war. A durable peace implies the realization of and respect for the rights of the Palestinian people.
"We have restored diplomatic relations with Israel. Now that profound democratic changes are taking place in our country and in the world and that a real process of settlement of the Middle East crisis is getting under way, the absence of such relations was becoming a nonsense. We hope and will try to make sure that this would benefit the peoples of our countries, and the entire Arab world.
"Peace in the Middle and Near East would benefit all. The region has a vast potential. Turned to constructive pursuits, it will help not only to resolve the problems of the nations that live there but will also become an important pillar of global international progress and prosperity.
"We must break the fetters of the past and do away with animosity, militarism, terrorism, hostage-taking and actions that turn people into refugees.
"Our country, as a participant in the Middle East process and a neighbour that has maintained long-standing and extensive ties with the nations of the region, has a special interest in the success of this conference.
"The pace and methods of resolving problems that have emerged at the present stage of world development will have a strong bearing on the settlement of conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere.
"The acceleration of historical evolution on the basis of democracy is amazing. Tremendous social energy of the masses of people is being released. Its characteristic manifestation is the dramatic growth of national self-awareness and national consolidation, particularly where national feelings were long ignored or suppressed.
"It is a generally positive process that holds out great promise for the future. It will add to the creative potential of the world community in all its diversity. We now have a better chance of keeping this process on a civilized course. At the macro-level of world politics there is a recognition of the complex implications of national aspirations and the willingness to put out the fires of inter-ethnic and international conflicts. We can witness that in the Middle East, southern Africa, Cambodia, Korea, Afghanistan and Central America.
"Yet dangers exist and we are already facing such dangers. Somewhat unexpectedly, they have made themselves strongly felt in Europe. But in the entirely new international environment there is a much lesser temptation for outsiders to exploit, say, the Yugoslav crisis, in order to gain an advantage and strengthen one's hand at the others' expense. To the contrary, the dominating tendency is to exert joint and vigorous efforts to help overcome the crisis while respecting the right of the parties involved to decide the destiny of their country and, at the same time, reminding them of their responsibility to the international community. One may hope that crises that arise in our time will not be as protracted as the one we are dealing with here.
"Lately the world has been confronted with yet another crisis of tremendous proportions. I have in mind my own country. It became inevitable as a result of long accumulated contradictions. A great transformation of a great country is under way. It is a painful and arduous process which has brought about personal tragedies and inter-ethnic and regional conflicts. A great deal in the world depends on how our crisis will be resolved.
"Once this crisis is overcome, our union will acquire new qualities and potentialities of a world Power based, materially, on a market economy as part of the world economy -- politically, on democracy as part of universal democracy and intellectually, on the new thinking.
"We are the ones who will shoulder the main burden of achieving the recovery and prosperity of our country. This job is for us to do. Our peoples will have to go through a difficult period of transition. But it is important that in the new conditions created precisely because our country launched the initiative to end confrontation and join the rest of the world, the world, too, has not remained indifferent to our great cause.
"The world community is becoming increasingly aware that what is happening in the Soviet Union has a larger bearing than any regional conflict on the vital interests of the greater part of today's world. Today we are not only hearing the voices of approval and good wishes - we are beginning to see practical support.
"This is a very significant sign of the movement towards a new era. President Bush's initiative regarding nuclear arms and our reciprocal initiatives constitute a major step and a remarkable symbol of this movement. Nuclear arms used to be the axis of world politics over almost half a century. We can now change the nature of politics by removing that axle and replacing it with a completely new one that would fit the wheels of history in the 21st century.
"Mankind faces many peacetime challenges and all of them are really formidable. They include what we call global problems, such as the environment, energy, food supplies, population, all problems of development and the complete abolition of the nuclear threat which is spreading to the periphery of the former centre of world confrontation.
"All these challenges can only be handled through joint efforts. Therefore it is essential to break the logic of many centuries and particularly of this century, to shape persistently and patiently a new logic of interdependence, interaction and cooperation. That this task is extremely difficult to accomplish we see both in our country and elsewhere. Even here in this conference room, ghosts of the old thinking -- sometimes unnoticed -- are still roaming among us.
"When we get rid of their presence, we will be better able to move towards a new world order. Irrespective of our individual visions of this order, it appears that we should not promote this objective process itself, relying on relevant mechanisms of the United Nations, CSCE, the European Communities, modernized old and completely new structures of regional security and cooperation and conflict-settlement.
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
"It is for the delegations directly participating in the conference to sort out the details of its enormous task. As co-chairman of the conference we will, in regular contact with our American counterparts, do our utmost to help find solutions for which your peoples and the entire world have long been yearning.
"In my address I have mentioned the more general problems of the global process. I did this in order to emphasize once again the important international context of the conference and of the challenge that you are facing.
"I wish you every success.
Representative of the European Community, Hans van den Broek
"On this historic day, in this beautiful capital city of Madrid, it is a privilege indeed to be speaking on behalf of the European Community and its twelve member States.
"For the first time, all the parties involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian question are sitting together at the conference table, confirming their commitment to a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement. As little as a year ago, perhaps especially a year ago, most of us would have dismissed out of hand a gathering like this taking place so soon. But these are extraordinary times, holding out both challenges and promise. With their unprecedented commitment to peace the parties have met the moment of history. Let us hope that this day, as it surely must, marks a turning-point in the annals of the Middle East.
"Now it not the time to dwell on that history. Far from it. All too often it has been one of conflict, suspicion and frustrated aspirations. We all know how easy it is to tap recriminations from the reservoir of bitterness that they have left. But let us today take to heart the one all-important lesson that the past has to teach. It is that this chance for peace is too precious to be wasted. It will perhaps not return in our lifetimes. There must be no turning back.
"We are today setting off on a road towards a Middle East different from the one we have known. The reestablishment of legality in the Gulf encourages us all the more to look everywhere for peace based on the rule of law. There is still a long way to go, but the objective of peace is no longer a mirage shimmering between earth and sky. It has become a living reality. It lies within range.
"The Twelve pay tribute to the wisdom and courage of the parties directly involved. Israel, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and the Palestinians. To be here today, each has in his own way surmounted difficulties, overcome ingrained reflexes and put aside doubts. It is a credit to them all that these have been transcended for the greater common objective. But it is absolutely essential that the commitment shown today is maintained and that trust grows from it in the days and months ahead.
"The Twelve welcome and attach particular significance to the participation of Egypt. The peace treaty between Israel and Egypt was an important first step. It demonstrated that commitment and courage on both sides could bring material results. Those same qualities are in evidence here today. Let us build on them.
"We salute the representatives of the member States of the Gulf Cooperation Council and of the Arab Maghreb Union who are here today as observers. Their support of a peaceful settlement and their constructive role in securing the wider regional framework for peace -- an area where the Twelve hope to be working closely with them -- will be a much needed inspiration to progress.
"The presence of a representative of the United Nations Secretary-General is an affirmation that what unites us here today are the principles and the guarantees which are enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. In a changing world those principles are the bedrock on which a peaceful world order stands, and it is the firm belief of the Twelve that the United Nations will have an important role to play in the coming peace process.
"Last but not least, we commend the United States administration which, in partnership with the Soviet Union, has mounted the effort to bring us together. Efforts which became all the more successful as a result of the new and constructive cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union in promoting peace throughout the world. From the outset the Twelve have given their full support to the peace initiative. Secretary Baker's unswerving determination, tireless energy and high skill have marked the administration's pursuit of that goal. It is an outstanding achievement, it deserves to be crowned with success.
"That same wisdom and courage, that same perseverance and flexibility that brought us together today must be made to prevail throughout the negotiations themselves. They are sure to be long. There may be some rough going ahead. That is why the process requires early movement and adoption of confidence-building and other measures to establish trust. That is vital.
"It is in this spirit that the EC and its member States, represented by its presidency, will participate in the negotiating process. We will be working closely alongside the United States and the Soviet Union. We share their overriding interest in the success of the negotiations. They can count on our constructive partnership in all the phases of the negotiating process.
"The Twelve consider it of the utmost importance that the parties have committed themselves to the road map of this conference: direct negotiations on the basis of resolutions 242 and 338 along two tracks, between Israel and the Palestinians on the one hand and between Israel and its Arab neighbours on the other. The political negotiations are to be underpinned by multilateral negotiations on regional cooperation in fields of mutual interest. We look forward and expect to be working closely with all the parties to ensure progress along these lines.
"Bearing in mind geographical proximity, a widely shared historical heritage, intensive relations across of the whole spectrum of political, cultural, economic and humanitarian affairs with the people of the Middle East, the community and its member States cannot but have a close interest in the future of a region with which it shares so many interests, and are resolved to share in the building of peace.
"The Twelve's guiding principles throughout the negotiating process are those which have since long governed our position. They remain unchanged. These principles are Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, the principle of land for peace, the right of all States in the region, including Israel, to live within secure and recognized boundaries and the proper expression of the right to self-determination by the Palestinian people. Our position on issues relating to the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, is equally well known. A comprehensive settlement should, in our view, encompass these principles. But we do not claim to prescribe how they should be put into practice on the ground.
"What is essential now, at the beginning of this conference, is that the way be opened to movement on substance. That, in our view, is why the early adoption of confidence-building measures is vital. They will make an essential contribution to creating the stable environment which progress in the negotiations will require. In our view a halt to Israel's settlement activity in the occupied territories is such an essential contribution. Renunciation of the Arab trade boycott of Israel is another. With regard to the situation in the occupied territories, it is important that both sides now show restraint and that Israel abide by the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention. We look forward to a tangible improvement in the situation in the occupied territories, even before the putting in place of interim or other arrangements.
"Early movement along the parallel track of the negotiations between Israel and its Arab neighbours is equally indispensable. Progress towards a durable peace between Israel and its neighbours, Jordan and Syria, will be crucial to the success of the overall peace process. Much will depend on the early establishment of a basis of confidence on both sides. We cannot emphasize enough that the parties involved should negotiate -- and should be seen to negotiate -- on the implementation of Security Council resolution 242 in good faith. Progress will undoubtedly contribute to further restoration of stability and sovereignty to Lebanon, and to the implementation of Security Council resolution 425.
"As we move forward through the twin-track agenda, progress there will need to be assisted and underpinned by regional cooperation that will yield the practical and visible benefits of peace. Clearly, regional cooperation cannot progress faster than movement towards a political settlement. But the political and regional agendas should go hand in hand, each one reinforcing the other.
"Given its close ties with all the parties involved, the community and its member States undertake to make an active practical contribution to progress in this important area of regional cooperation. The multilateral working groups to be established for this purpose should start their work as soon as possible.
"A bold and imaginative approach is called for. We will be putting forward our own ideas. We will share with you our own experience in this regard to the benefit of all nations of the Middle East.
"Building a network of mutual economic interest amongst themselves and closer cooperation with the European Community and the wider world will help the threat of conflict recede. All this will call for wider participation. That is why the community will endeavour to associate EFTA nations, Japan and of course the GCC States and others in a framework of closer economic cooperation. Above all, we look forward to proposals from the parties themselves. We know the ideas are there and we will very shortly be contacting the parties to discuss them.
"But regional cooperation must go deeper and wider. Elements of the process set in motion by the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe could serve as an inspiration and example. It shows how a modest start can bring great results. It was during the years of the cold war that principles for improving relations between States and between their citizens were agreed in Helskinki. These principles, and the commitments undertaken to give them effect, gradually established themselves as a code of conduct for Governments, and an inspiration for the governed. Today they are universally accepted as a framework within which participating States conduct their domestic and international affairs. The CSCE also agreed a series of confidence- and security-building measures which, over time, grew into the network of arms control arrangements that has proved its worth in Europe. It is singularly lacking and badly needed in the Middle East.
"Europe is of course not the Middle East but we believe that some of the lessons and experience of CSCE could be taken on board. There is a long and difficult way to go. But in the end we hope to find ourselves in a Middle Eastern landscape that is different and new.
"The most prominent features of that landscape are States that are at peace with each other, where the legitimate security needs of all have been met, where peoples give shape to their own future and a new life beckons for the region as a whole, and in particular for the Palestinians, who have been the principal victims of the Arab-Israeli dispute.
"It is a landscape where new security arrangements have drastically reduced tension and are building confidence. Where networks of regional and economic cooperation reinforce the peace, and where the vast accumulation of armaments, including weapons of mass destruction, has been undone, and freed resources are made to meet the needs of citizens to pursue their well-being in security and in full enjoyment of their human rights.
"These, and much besides, are the rewards that await the parties at the end of the road. That is our vision of a comprehensive settlement between Israel and the Palestinians and between Israel and its neighbours.
"Commitment, good faith and perseverance. These are the essential ingredients of progress towards such a settlement. They have brought the parties here on this day. They must be sustained beyond it. In so doing, all the parties can count on the full support, encouragement and assistance to the negotiating process by the European Community and its twelve member States. We will give our best. That is the pledge I am honoured to make on this historic day.
"A day that marks a courageous step for each of you, and a giant leap for peace in the Middle East."
Foreign Minister of Egypt, Amre M. Moussa
"Your Excellency Mr. James Baker, Secretary of State of the USA, Your Excellency Mr. Boris Pankin, Foreign Minister of the USSR, Excellencies, heads of delegations,
"Allow me at the outset to convey to you and to the peace conference which you compose, a message of profound appreciation and sincere hopes from President Hosni Mubarak, of the Arab Republic of Egypt, that the convening of the peace conference in the Middle East would launch a genuine peace process ushering in all the peoples of the Middle East towards new vistas replacing inequity with justice, oppression with freedom, occupation with liberation, hostility with coexistence, doubts with confidence, conflict with cooperation and war with peace.
"A multitude of emotions overwhelm us when we gather today in this great country, Spain, whose history witnessed long centuries of prosperous Arab culture, which achieved active and positive interaction between Latin and Arabic cultures. It laid today the basis of a very rich cultural blend and background. This blend stands today an evidence of communication, not alienation or isolation of cultures, of the consolidation of coexistence, cooperation and peace.
"We, Egyptians and Arabs, authors of history, contributors to world civilization, ancient and contemporary, unmistakably and authentically, have strongly determined to participate in the formulation of a framework of a new world, a framework of cooperation and interaction, with principles of justice, legitimacy as its texture; equality and reciprocity in rights and obligations as its structure.
"The great efforts exerted to help convene this historic gathering to launch the peace process in the Middle East, represent signals, to be hopefully confirmed by the forthcoming negotiations, of the emergence of a new will, of a staunch determination by all to achieve a just, comprehensive, peaceful settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the core of which is the question of Palestine.
"At this crossroad of world history, when all the peoples in the Middle East look forward with hope and anticipation to this great event, we, along with millions of Arabs, and Israelis, indeed all those who genuinely advocate peace and freedom, feel profoundly indebted to the courageous, unrelenting and determined efforts of the US administration throughout the few months since March 8, when President Bush embarked on his peace initiative, with the active and consistent support of the Soviet Union. US Secretary of State James Baker, through his unending highly commendable diplomatic creativity, to which I am a witness, has at long last, accomplished a historic mission. The Palestinian people through their representatives took the difficult decision, so did Syria, Jordan and Israel. The decision is historic. The significance is great, it is a courageous decision to respond to the challenge of peace, a decision which we believe will be also an option for peace.
"The unprecedented transformations in international relations which demolished walls of isolation, ideologies of confrontation did lay the foundations for just settlements and achievement of peace in many troubled and conflict areas.
"The evolution of history at this juncture has opened for peoples and States which have not, for different reasons, availed themselves of peace opportunities before new, and probably the last, prospects for the exercise of the free will of peoples to choose their own future for the restoration of their rights, opening horizons of cooperation, mutual recognition of rights and duties, for the establishment of peace with justice that would resolve the conflicting claims in a spirit of reconciliation, accommodation and harmony through dialogue and negotiation.
"The cradle of the most ancient civilizations, the birthplace of three monotheistic divine religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam; the Middle East was plagued for decades with wars, violence and revenge.
"More than any other region in the world, it has been doomed with untold of tragedies, full of tears, blood and human miseries. Despair, frustration, chaos and death were the haunting figures roving in all parts of these otherwise blessed territories.
"The Middle East region is not perennially doomed to this fate. We believe in our collective ability to reorient the course of history, to write a new chapter for the Middle East, void of the bitter legacies of acrimony, vendetta, fears and doubts, but instead full of tolerance, confidence, fervour and joint human endeavour for the sake and benefit of the future generations, Arabs and Israelis and the whole world.
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
"Peace was the message emanating from the East, from Mount Sinai in Egypt, from Nazareth and Jerusalem, from Mecca and Medina, those eternal beacon houses for mankind. Peoples in the four corners of the world espoused the message of peace and echoed the call for one God Almighty. Will the sons of Abraham rededicate themselves to the divine message of peace and brotherhood? The decision is ours. We will stand accountable before our people and the peoples of the world if we fail to pass the test, and we must pass the test.
"With goodwill, strong determination and positive political will, we can make 1991 the beginning of the end of a long agonizing ordeal. This is a moment of historic decision, a moment of courage, patience, wisdom, self-confidence and vision.
"In history, ancient, medieval or modern, balances of power are never eternal. At a time, they could be replaced or even annulled in different contexts of time or space. History stands a most eloquent testimony to this fact. Force never resolved a conflict similar to that of the Middle East and never will, especially if it involves a multitude of factors and claims against a background of religion, history, culture and geography and when it involves more than one party.
"This is the inherent morale behind the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is a conflict which defied resolution by sheer force. It is a conflict over rights, claims, counter-claims which have to be reconciled but not denied or suppressed.
"To this end, Egypt, an equal and full partner in the quest for peace, will leave no stone unturned, no path uncharted, no horizons unexplored to discharge its responsibilities towards its Arab and Palestinian brothers and towards the whole region until the establishment of a genuine peace in honour and dignity.
"Egypt is bound by historic, cultural ties and legal obligations with its Arab brethren and the peace relationship with Israel, which would warrant a staunch support of their legitimate demands for the implementation of UN resolutions 242 and 338 and to help evolve a framework of a viable peace, security and cooperation among all countries of the Middle East parties to the conflict.
"Egypt feels strongly reassured that by the sponsorship of the USA, the USSR, indeed their co-chairmanship and participation in the conference itself, the peace process stands on a most secure, most solid launching pad. The participation of the EEC constitutes an added and necessary reassurance. The positive attitudes of the towards the legitimate rights of the parties to the conflict invite our appreciation. The UN presence symbolizes international legitimacy and its resolutions 242 and 338, the basis of the negotiation process, the principles of its Charter, the framework under which any just and acceptable settlement could be reached.
"The broad-based international participation underlines the unflinching international support for the peace process which provides the driving force behind the progress towards the attainment of its objectives.
"Peace dividends will not be the exclusive reward for one party nor for the parties directly involved in the process of negotiations. The whole region, the Mediterranean, Europe, the world at large will share the fruits of peace in the Middle East. They all have a high and direct stake in the just and comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict that should fulfil the legitimate inalienable rights for all peoples, including the Palestinian people, and in particular its right to self-determination; a peace that should provide for the security of all States, including the State of Israel, through mutual recognition of rights based on equity and justice.
"Egypt at one of its finest moments, 1973, called for peace. In 1977 it pioneered the march toward peace. In 1979 it endorsed this peace with Israel. Throughout our tireless and undaunting efforts for peace, our position has always been and will always be grounded in our commitment to international legitimacy, to the UN Charter and its resolutions. Today we are all the more devoted to the safe principles, unchanged and unnegotiable.
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
"The peace which we intend to establish, to consolidate and safeguard, should be built in the formula land for peace as reflected in Security Council resolution 242 which unequivocally reaffirmed the inherent principle of the UN Charter on the inadmissibility of acquisition of territories by force and the right of all States to live in peace and security.
"This peace is based on a number of fundamentals, basics and factors. It means right for right, obligation for obligation, security for security, sovereignty for sovereignty. In our conviction, this and only this can fulfil the formula peace for peace.
"It is inconceivable that principles long endorsed and internationally accepted would be renegotiated or reinterpreted or outbid. Complete withdrawal from all Arab territories, occupied in 1967, in the West Bank including East Jerusalem, Gaza, the Syrian Golan Heights pursuant to Security Council resolution 242 and also from southern Lebanon pursuant to Security Council resolution 425, is the right prelude to promote a genuine peace with justice and dignity. Arab rights to Arab territories cannot be compromised. Recognition of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people is the prime assurance for peaceful coexistence of Israelis, Palestinians, indeed the Arabs, in their respective homelands.
"Arabs did not come to relinquish their rights, accepted, endorsed and supported by rules of international law, principles of justice, the UN Charter, resolutions and world consensus, nor did they come to concede their commitments to these principles and norms; they came to search, in good faith, with mutual trust, for a common ground for acceptable formulas on how to meet concerns, reconcile different demands, reach agreements and modalities that would secure the legitimate requirements of all parties equitably and without prejudice to the rights of any party. We call upon Israel to do the same.
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
"Launching this historic peace process should not be fettered with obstacles impeding its steady evolution towards a comprehensive permanent settlement. Basic fundamental requirements have to be respected and met.
"First, the legal status of the Palestinian people should not be challenged. They are not just proprietors, inhabitants or residents of conquered territories. They are people with history, culture, a distinct national identity worthy of all the attributes of other peoples.
"Second, the West Bank, Gaza and Golan Heights are occupied Arab territories subject to the full implementation of Security Council resolution 242. They are not also conquered territories. They are not lands promised to other peoples. They have their legitimate sovereigns. Claims not based on principles of legitimacy and international law have no place in the world of today.
"Third, settlements established in territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, are illegal, and more settlements will force closed potential progress towards real peace, cast doubts on the credibility of the process itself. They have to be stopped as they obstruct peace, undermine the groundwork for negotiations on the final status of the occupied territories and erode the will to coexist.
"Fourth, The Holy City of Jerusalem has its special status. It should remain free, accessible and sacred to all followers of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. The occupying Power should not exercise monopoly, illegal sovereignty over this Holy City. The persistence of unilateral decisions declared by the occupying Power to annex the Holy City lacks any validity or legitimacy. The status of the Holy City should be subject to negotiations and settled by agreement on the context of legitimacy established by internationally accepted resolutions.
"The Arab-Israeli dispute is in essence an Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Any breakthrough or progress depends on the settlement of the question of Palestine, in terms of rights and territories. It also requires termination of the Israeli occupation of the Syrian territories occupied in 1967 and Israeli withdrawal to Syrian international borders. Progress towards attainment of these objectives should be guided by rationality and wisdom. It should achieve justice and equity within the context of balanced rights and obligations on the basis of international legitimacy, conscious, and with clear understanding, of the historical developments.
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
"This peace conference heralds a new turning point in the history of the Middle East. It brings time-old adversaries and enemies to a meeting group. It attempts to bridge unsurmountable gaps among former antagonists. It is an embodiment of the deep yearning of the Arab people, the Palestinians and the Israelis for peace. We hope that the conference will resolve, with the peace process it launches, the historic conflict between the Arabs and the Israelis.
"We should not fail our peoples and the peoples of the world. We should not succumb to moments of despair. We come here not to lose, but to win, together. Our dividend is peace, it is a most precious dividend that cannot be bargained away. Millions of parents, Arabs and Israelis, with their hearts broken with anguish for their lost sons, absent husbands, for their beloved ones who never returned home, are looking forward with anxious, long-waiting weary eyes.
"These millions are gathered together by rays of hope. They are the corps of peace not the division of war. They hold and raise olive branches and address to all of us an appeal of peace and brotherhood to force open the gateway of a new history for mankind. The difficulties are great, but prospects are bright. New vistas of cooperation will be opened, new lines of communication will be established. The time has come to free the Middle East from sources of tension, weapons of mass destruction, primarily nuclear, so that resources hitherto squandered on the arms race, will be for development needs, common welfare and prosperity. This is a moment of truth, commitment and hope. We have opted for peace. The path is thorny, the march is tiring and the challenge is colossal. But the objective is great, noble and worth our pilgrimage for peace.
31 October 1991
Prime Minister of Israel, Itzhak Shamir
"Distinguished Co-Chairmen, Ministers, members of delegations to the Conference, ladies and gentlemen,
"It is an honour to represent the people of Israel at this historic moment; and a privilege to address this opening of peace talks between Israel and its Arab neighbours.
"I would like to express our profound appreciation to our Spanish hosts for their hospitality, and for making this gathering for peace possible. In its two thousand years of wandering, the Jewish people paused here for several hundred years, until they were expelled 500 years ago. It was in Spain that the great Jewish poet and philosopher, Yehuda Halevi, expressed the yearning for Zion of all Jews, in the words:
'My heart is in the East,
while I am in the uttermost West'.
"I would also like to extend our appreciation to the co-sponsors of this conference - the US, which has maintained a strong friendship with Israel in an alliance that has overcome occasional differences and the Soviet Union, which saved the lives of many Jews during the Second World War, and has now opened its gates to the repatriation of Jews to their ancient homeland.
"The people of Israel look to this palace with great anticipation and expectation. We pray that this meeting will mark the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the Middle East; that it will signal the end of hostility, violence, terror and war; that it will bring dialogue, accommodation, coexistence and -- above all -- peace.
"Distinguished Co-Chairmen, Ladies and Gentlemen,
"To appreciate the meaning of peace for the people of Israel, one has to view today's Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel against the background of our history.
"Jews have been persecuted throughout the ages in almost every continent. Some countries barely tolerated us, others oppressed, tortured, slaughtered and exiled us.
"This century saw the Nazi regime set out to exterminate us. The Sho'ah, the Holocaust, the catastrophic genocide of unprecedented proportions which destroyed a third of our people, became possible because no one defended us. Being homeless, we were also defenceless.
"But it was not the Holocaust which made the world community recognize our rightful claim to the land of Israel. In fact, the rebirth of the State of Israel so soon after the Holocaust has made the world forget that our claim is immemorial. We are the only people who have lived in the land of Israel without interruption for nearly 4,000 years; we are the only people, except for a short crusader kingdom, who have had an independent sovereignty in this land; we are the only people for whom Jerusalem has been a capital; we are the only people whose sacred places are only in the land of Israel.
"No nation has expressed its bond with its land with as much intensity and consistency as we have. For millenia our people repeated at every occasion the cry of the psalmist: 'If I forget thee, Jerusalem, may my right hand lose its cunning.' For millenia we have encouraged each other with the greeting, 'next year in Jerusalem'. For millenia our prayers, literature and folklore have expressed powerful longing to return to our land. Only Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel, is our true homeland. Any other country, no matter how hospitable, is still a diaspora, a temporary station on the way home.
"To others, it was not an attractive land. No one wanted it. Mark Twain described it only a hundred years ago as 'a desolate country, which sits in sackcloth and ashes, a silent mournful expanse, which not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life'.
"The Zionist movement gave political expression to our claim to the land of Israel. And in 1922, the League of Nations recognized the justice of this claim. It understood the compelling historic imperative of establishing a Jewish homeland in the land of Israel. The United Nations Organization reaffirmed this recognition after the Second World War.
"Regrettably, the Arab leaders, whose friendship we wanted most, opposed a Jewish State in the region. With a few distinguished exception, they claimed that the land of Israel is part of the Arab domain that stretches from the Atlantic to the Persian Gulf.
"In defiance of international will and legality, the Arab regimes attempted to overrun and destroy the Jewish State even before it was born. The Arab spokesman at the UN declared that the establishment of a Jewish State would cause a bloodbath which would make the slaughters of Ghengis Khan pale in significance.
"In Declaration of Independence on May 15, 1948, stretched out its hand in peace with its Arab neighbours, calling for an end to war and bloodshed. In response, seven Arab States invaded Israel. The UN resolution that partitioned the country was thus violated and effectively annulled.
"The UN did not create Israel. The Jewish State came into being because the tiny Jewish community, in what was Mandatary Palestine, rebelled against foreign imperialist rule. We did not conquer a foreign land. We repulsed the Arab onslaught, prevented Israel's annihilation, declared its independence and established a viable State and government institutions within a very short time.
"After the attack on Israel failed, the Arab regimes continued their fight against Israel with boycott, blockade, terrorism and outright war. Soon after the establishment of Israel, they turned against the Jewish communities in Arab countries. A wave of oppression, expropriation and expulsion caused a mass exodus of some 800,000 Jews from lands they had inhabited from before the rise of Islam.
"Most of these Jewish refugees, stripped of their considerable possessions, came to Israel. They were welcomed by the Jewish State. They were given shelter and support, and they were integrated into Israeli society together with half a million survivors of the European Holocaust.
"The Arab regimes' rejection of Israel's existence in the Middle East, and the continuous war they have waged against it, are part of history. There have been attempts to rewrite this history, which depict the Arabs as victims and Israel as the aggressor. Like attempts to deny the Holocaust, they will fail. With the demise of totalitarian regimes in most of the world, this perversion of history will disappear.
"In their war against Israel's existence, the Arab Governments took advantage of the cold war. They enlisted the military, economic and political support of the Communist world against Israel, and they turned a local, regional conflict into an international powder-keg. This caused the Middle East to be flooded with arms, which fueled wars and turned the area into a dangerous battleground and a testing arena for sophisticated weapons. At the UN, the Arab States mustered the support of other Muslim countries and the Soviet bloc. Together they had an automatic majority for countless resolutions that perverted history, paraded fiction as fact and made a travesty of the UN and its Charter.
"Arab hostility to Israel has also brought tragic human suffering to the Arab people. Tens of thousands have been killed and wounded. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs who lived in Mandatary Palestine were encouraged by their own leaders to flee from their homes. Their suffering is a blot on humanity. No decent person, least of all a Jew of this era, can be oblivious to this suffering.
"Several hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs live in slums known as refugee camps in Gaza, Judea and Samaria. Attempts by Israel to rehabilitate and house them have been defeated by Arab objections. Nor has their hate been any better in Arab States. Unlike the Jewish refugees who came to Israel from Arab countries, most Arab refugees were neither welcomed nor integrated by their hosts. Only the kingdom of Jordan awarded them citizenship. Their plight has been used as a political weapon against Israel.
"The Arabs who have chosen to remain in Israel - Christian, Muslim and Druze - have become full-fledged citizens enjoying equal rights and representation in the legislature, in the judiciary and in all walks of life.
"We, who over the centuries were denied access to our Holy Places, respect the religion of all faiths in our country. Our law guarantees freedom of worship and protects the holy places of every religion.
"Distinguished Co-Chairmen, Ladies and Gentlemen,
"I stand before you today in yet another quest for peace, not only on behalf of the State of Israel, but in the name of the entire Jewish people that has maintained an unbreakable bond with the land of Israel for almost 4,000 years.
"Our pursuit of accommodation and peace has been relentless. For us, the ingathering of Jews into their ancient homeland; their integration in our society and the creation of the necessary infrastructure are at the very top of our national agenda. A nation that faces such a gigantic challenge would most naturally desire peace with all its neighbours.
"Since the beginning of zionism, we have formulated innumerable peace proposals and plans. All of them were rejected. The first crack in the wall of hostility occurred in 1977 when the late President Anwar Sadat of Egypt decided to break the taboo and come to Jerusalem. His gesture was reciprocated with enthusiasm by the people and Government of Israel, headed by Menachem Begin. This development led to the Camp David Accords and the treaty of peace between Egypt and Israel. Four years later, in 17 May 1983, an agreement was signed with the lawful Government of Lebanon. Unfortunately, this agreement was not fulfilled because of outside intervention. But the precedent was set and we looked forward to courageous steps, similar to those of Anwar Sadat. Regrettably, not one Arab leader has seen fit to come forward and respond to our call for peace.
"Today's gathering is a result of a sustained American effort, based on our own peace plan of 15 May 1989 which, in turn, was founded on the Camp David Accords.
"According to the American initiative, the purpose of this meeting is to launch direct peace negotiations between Israel and each of its neighbours, and multilateral negotiations on regional issues among all the countries of the region.
"We have always believed that only direct, bilateral talks can bring peace. We have agreed to precede such talks with this ceremonial conference, but we hope that Arab consent to direct, bilateral talks indicates an understanding that there is no other way to peace. In the Middle East, this has special meaning, because such talks imply mutual acceptance; and the root cause of the conflict is the Arab refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the State of Israel.
"The multilateral talks that would accompany the bilateral negotiations are a vital component in the process. In these talks, the essential ingredients of coexistence and regional cooperation will be discussed. There cannot be genuine peace in our region unless these regional issues are addressed and resolved.
"We believe the goal of the bilateral negotiations is to sign peace treaties between Israel and its neighbours, and to reach an agreement on interim self-government arrangements with the Palestinian Arabs.
"But nothing can be achieved without good will. I appeal to the Arab leaders, those who are here and those who have not yet joined the process: show us and the world that you accept Israel's existence. Demonstrate your readiness to accept Israel as a permanent entity in the region. Let the people in our region hear you speak in the language of reconciliation, coexistence and peace with Israel.
"In Israel there is an almost total consensus for the need for peace. We only differ on the best ways to achieve it. In most Arab countries the opposite seems to be true: the only differences are over the ways to push Israel into a defenceless position and, ultimately, to destruction. We would like to see in your countries an end to poisonous preachings against Israel. We would like to see an indication of the kind of hunger for peace which characterizes Israeli society.
"We appeal to you to renounce the jihad against Israel. We appeal to you to denounce the PLO covenant which calls for Israel's destruction. We appeal to you to condemn declarations that call for Israel's annihilation, like the one issued by the rejectionist conference in Tehran last week. We appear to you to let Jews who wish to leave your countries, go.
"And we address a call to the Palestinian Arabs: renounce violence and terrorism; use the universities in the administered territories - whose existence was made possible only by Israel - for learning and development, not agitation and violence; stop exposing your children to danger by sending them to throw bombs and stones at soldiers and civilians.
"Just two days ago, we were reminded that Palestinian terrorism is still rampant, when a mother of seven children and a father of four were slaughtered in cold blood. We cannot remain indifferent and be expected to talk with people involved in such repulsive activities.
"We appeal to you to shun dictators like Saddam Hussein who aim to destroy Israel; stop the brutal torture and murder of those who do not agree with you; allow us, and the world community, to build decent housing for the people who now live in refugee camps. Above all, we hope you finally realize that you could have been at this table long ago, soon after the Camp David Accords were first concluded, had you chosen dialogue instead of violence, coexistence instead of terrorism.
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
"We come to this process with an open heart, sincere intentions and great expectations. We are committed to negotiating without interruption until an agreement is reached. There will be problems, obstacles, crises and conflicting claims. But it is better to talk than to shed blood. Wars have not solved anything in our region. They have only caused misery, suffering, bereavement and hatred.
"We know our partners to the negotiations will make territorial demands on Israel. But, as an examination of the conflict's long history makes clear, its nature is not territorial. It raged well before Israel acquired Judea, Samaria, Gaza and the Golan in a defensive war. There was no hint of recognition of Israel before that war in 1967, when the territories in question were not under Israeli control.
"We are a nation of 4 million. The Arab nations from the Atlantic to the Gulf number 170 million. We control only 28,000 square kilometres. The Arabs possess a land mass of 14 million square kilometres. The issue is not territory but our existence.
"It will be regrettable if the talks focus primarily and exclusively on territory. It is the quickest way to an impasse. What we need, first and foremost, is the building of confidence, the removal of the danger of confrontation, and the development of relations in as many spheres as possible.
"The issues are complex, and the negotiations will be lengthy and difficult. We submit that the best venue for the talks is in our region, in close proximity to the decision-makers, not in a foreign land. We invite our partners to this process to come to Israel for the first round of talks. On our part, we are ready to go to Jordan, to Lebanon and to Syria for the same purpose. There is no better way to make peace than to talk in each other's home. Avoiding such talks is a denial of the purpose of the negotiations. I would welcome a positive answer from the representatives of these States here and now. We must learn to live together. We must learn to live without war, without bloodshed. Judaism has given the world not only the belief in one God, but the idea that all men and women are created in God's image. There is no greater sin than to ravage this image by shedding blood.
"I am sure that there is no Arab mother who wants her son to die in battle - just as there is no Jewish mother who wants her son to die in war. I believe every mother wants her children to learn the art of living, not the science of war.
"For many hundreds of years, wars, deep antagonisms and terrible suffering cursed this continent on which we meet. The nations of Europe saw the rise of dictators and their defeat after lengthy and painful struggles. Now, they are together - former bitter enemies - in a united community. They are discussing the good of the community, cooperating in all matters, acting almost as one unit. I envy them. I would like to see such a community rise in the Middle East. And I believe that, despite all differences between us, we should be able, gradually, to build a united regional community. Today it is a dream - but we have seen, in our own lifetime, some of the most fantastic dreams become reality. Today, the gulf separating the two sides is still too wide; the Arab hostility to Israel too deep; the lack of trust too immense, to permit a dramatic, quick solution. But we must start on the long road to reconciliation with this first step in the peace process.
"We are convinced that human nature prefers peace to war and belligerence. We, who have had to fight seven wars and sacrifice many thousands of lives, glorify neither death nor war. The Jewish faith exalts peace even to the extent that it considers it a synonym for the Creator Himself. We yearn for peace. We pray for peace.
"We believe the blessing of peace can turn the Middle East into a paradise; a centre of cultural, scientific, medical and technological creativity. We can foresee a period of great economic progress that would put an end to misery, hunger and illiteracy. It could put the Middle East - the cradle of civilization - on the road to a new era.
"Such a goal merits our devotion and dedication for as long as it is necessary until, in the words of the prophet Isaiah, we shall be able to turn 'swords into ploughshares' and bring the blessings of peace to all the peoples of our region.
"Let me conclude with the words of the same prophet:
'Peace, peace, both for far and near, says the Lord'.
"Distinguished Co-Chairmen, Ladies and Gentlemen,
"Let us resolve to leave this hall with a unified determination that from now on, any differences we may have will be solved only by negotiations, goodwill and mutual tolerance. Let us declare, here and now, an end to war, to belligerency and to hostility. Let us march forward together, to reconciliation and peace."
Foreign Minister of Jordan, Kamel Abu Jaber
"The Honourable James Baker, Secretary of State of the United States of America, the Honourable Boris Pankin, Foreign Minister of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, distinguished Personal Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ambassador Edouard Brunner, the distinguished head of the European Community delegation, Mr. van den Broeck, Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of The
Netherlands, the distinguished observer from the Gulf Cooperation Council, H.E. Mr. Abdullah Bisharah, the distinguished observer from the Maghreb Cooperation Council, H.E. Mr. Mohammad Amamu, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
"It is with sincere appreciation that I thank the Governments of the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics for co-sponsoring this historic conference. For us this occasion represents what we must strive to make, the final turning-point, from a drift towards ultimate disaster for our peoples, our region and possibly the world, to a new era of a properly constructed true peace, hope and life. All the parties to this most chronic and tragic conflict need your continued interest and support, together with the rest of the world, so that we may attain the just peace that the peoples of this region need and deserve.
"We also salute His Majesty King Juan Carlos, the guardian of Spanish democracy, as well as Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, the Spanish Government and people, for hosting the conference in Madrid. We thank them for their gracious hospitality and warm welcome.
"This is a historic moment. The challenges and the issues before us are momentous. In his speech before the National Congress in Amman on 12 October 1991, His Majesty King Hussein identified the essence of the challenge when he spoke of the possibilities of true peace and its implications for the future of the children of Abraham, Jews and Arabs alike. It is worthy of note that Spain seeks to honour Arabs and Jews in 1992 in the context of the contributions of the Andalus and Sepharad. Together they generously contributed to a rich civilization, the fruits of which not only Spain, but the world and humanity have since appreciated.
"It is not impossible to hope that this conference will herald the dawn of a new era to rectify the mistakes of the past. Perhaps the possibility of joint contribution is again at hand. Everyone must remember that God has 'created mankind as nations and tribes so that you may know each other. The most noble of you, in the sight of Allah, is the most pious' (The Holy Koran, Sura 49/13). And if this conference does anything it must end Israel's self-righteous attitude to live by its own rules alone. This conference is also about the credibility of international law, the United Nations Charter and human rights.
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
"Jordan comes to this conference in good faith. Our vision is not merely an end to hostility - another truce - but a comprehensive, just and permanent peace. Our region has known nothing but instability and violence since the turn of the century. It is about time that it enjoys peace.
"What is needed is not only sight but vision - vision to stand on top of the hill, not in the valley, so as to enable ourselves to look into the future and to evaluate the consequences of the absence of peace. For far too long the peoples of the region have been locked in the groove of their own historical animosities, suspicions and acrimony.
"That is why we in Jordan register our appreciation for the endeavour of President Bush as well as the support of President Gorbachev. It is our hope that the personal interest and support of both will remain, even increase, throughout the negotiations.
"We come to this conference standing on strong moral grounds, buttressed by a record of moderation and wise vision since the creation of our State in modern times. The most tragic conflict which we are now addressing is one of the oldest on the agenda of the United Nations, and though it may appear regional its international dimensions are many and obvious. It is especially so against the background of the Gulf crisis in that it severely tests the credibility of the United Nations and that of the five permanent members of the Security Council. It was in the wake of the Gulf crisis that President Bush undertook to work seriously toward its resolution. We also appreciate the Soviet co-sponsorship of the effort as well as the support of the European Community. We take heart that this whole enterprise is firmly anchored in international legitimacy as embodied in United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 based on the principle of the inadmissibility of acquisition of territory by force, and providing for the exchange of land for peace.
"While it was true that most Arabs, out of a sense of outrage and feelings of injustice and betrayal, have refused since 1947 to contemplate accommodation, there were others in the Arab world who were willing to be counted for peace. Over the decades of the 1930s, 1940s and beyond, indeed until the present moment, the arena was abandoned to the radicals. In the clash of ideas, visions and armies that have ensued since then, reason, often humanity itself, was pushed beyond the frontiers of choice. The situation deteriorated to the condition of a primitive state of nature, where brute force replaced civilized behaviour, where might replaced right.
"The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which I have the honour to represent, has been, since the outset of this conflict, on the side of every effort to seriously solve it peacefully. King Hussein was actively involved in the formulation of United Nations Security Council resolution 242, a foundation of this conference.
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
"Today we have an historic opportunity for peace in a land that has not tasted it for a long time. We must remember that the extremists and the rejectionists who speak in absolute terms are still lurking in the wings. It is from there that they issue their often repeated clichés and venomous threats.
"Inasmuch as peace is a good in itself, an inherent value, it is also a battle against the absolutist ideologues invoking ancient hatreds. Many think that the situation should not be resolved but left to future generations to deal with. Those of vision, however, see it differently. Considering the immediacy of the need to reach a settlement at this particular moment of world history with its interdependence between peoples and nations, King Hussein said:
'... We must be involved in the drive for peace because it concerns our present and future ... Otherwise, the outcome, God forbid, will be ominous dangers ...'
"It is for this reason that it is important to emphasize transcending the present in the search for the future. To continue to be locked in the mental strait-jacket of absolutist ideologies means that there will never be a way out of the shackles of hatred.
"We take to heart and with respect the words of President Bush in his 6th of March, 1991 address before the American Congress, when he said:
'... I expressed my hope that out of the horrors of war might come new momentum for peace. We have learned in the modern age, geography cannot guarantee security and security does not come from military power alone ... By now, it should be plain to all parties that peace-making in the Middle East requires compromise ...'
"Peace cannot, indeed must not, reflect the military balance of the belligerents now. It should, essentially, reflect the hope of a better future that will end, once and for all, our living in the midst of conflicting tragedies. It should bring us all in step with a new world that will shatter the shadows, the misery and the fog that engulf our lives. It was Albert Einstein who said, '... Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding'.
"It should not be a peace at any price but an honourable peace with which we and future generations can live: a durable peace which is the product of negotiations. It must be the outcome of mutual understanding and accommodation between the parties to the conflict without sacrificing rights or deviating from the principles of international law.
"Jordan's position rests on the very simple yet direct assumption that in the end nothing is true but the truth; that a moral and just stand is ultimately more powerful than brute force. Although the world, and the Israelis themselves, know and are aware of our innocence of the crimes against the Jewish people, Israel's indignant outrage has not induced a sense of balanced justice. It has become our fate in Jordan to live with, as well as to suffer, and to contain the powerful forces of extremism. The Nazis and others unleashed the passions of injured zionism for which the Palestinians and Jordan have paid the price.
"God only knows the price we continue to pay for the sins of others. It has come to pass that our land, our culture, our people, even our very souls, as well as everything we hold dear and sacred, continue to be plundered and distorted to accommodate new realities and manufactured facts, brutally created on the ground.
"And so it is that we not only ask what to do, but also welcome the present effort. The question is the more agonizing as we in the Arab world, and in Jordan in particular, contemplate our situation. In Jordan three times in four decades, we had to make room for large waves of destitute and bewildered refugees forced out of their lands and homes.
"We are aware, as are our people, that in the nature of things a negotiated settlement does not represent total justice. Yet, with out traditional Jordanian moderation, rational approach, and consideration of our vision of the future, we have made consensus and balance a cornerstone of our political thesis since 1967. In the words of King Hussein:
'... Peace is essential to us in leading a normal life ... We have made it a symbol for a better life for future generations ... Peace has become a national objective ...'
"That is why we think that the formula land-for-peace rings more meaningfully true than any other principle or slogan. The echo of the drums of war reverberates in the heart and soul of the region. Is it not time that we, now on the threshold of the twenty-first century, bring peace to our peoples?
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
"Jordan enters this process from a position of moral strength, secure in the knowledge that reasonable men can reach reasonable solutions; that justice must ultimately prevail; that peace is indeed the master of all judgments, and its logic necessitates accommodation not belligerency. Otherwise, we may truly become one-dimensional with neither soul nor spirit, driven by the primeval instincts of the political jungle, leading us to perish in perils of our own making.
"We should shed the psychology of fear, get out of the shadow and realize that States too, like people, sometimes commit suicide because of their fear of life. More land is not more security. Occupation is against every legal principle and the shape it has taken in the Arab occupied territories contravenes the United Nations Charter and the Fourth Geneva Convention. The building of settlements and the expropriation of land are both in clear contravention of the rules of international law.
"The justice that Jordan seeks requires resort to law; law that governs the actions of men, freeing them to live secure in a stable, ordered, and institutionalized universe. That alone can assure the proper division of labour and resources, and that alone can guarantee not only survival, but freedom and security. The technology of war has far out-distanced our true appreciation of its destructiveness and danger. Otherwise, how can we continue to contemplate our security in terms of missiles, nuclear, biological and chemical weapons? Our mission must transcend the issues of mere survival to become the search for a new future.
"That is why His Majesty King Hussein, in his nationwide speech of 12 October 1991, solicited the help and support of the international community in this process:
'... Our cause is not only between us and Israel but also between the world and Israel ... between the supremacy of international law ... and the flouting of it ... The whole world rejects what Israel's leadership is saying because it contravenes international legitimacy ... Indeed, a relatively growing segment of Israelis are not too far from this world view ...'
"The King added that our world today is 'peace-oriented' and that the Arabs and the rest of the world will come together in their mutual desire and interests to find a peaceful solution.
"That is one of the bases of the Jordanian position: a search for peace secure in the support of the entire Arab world, indeed the whole world community and in particular the Palestinians. We and the Palestinians have a just cause which must be addressed and resolved with equity and fairness.
"Our second basis for entering this peace process is our expectation that there will be no asymmetry or double standards.
"The third basis of the Jordanian approach is that our cause and that of our Palestinian brethren is intricately linked by ties of history, culture, religion, language, demography, geography, as well as human suffering and national aspirations. King Hussein said:
'We would have preferred an independent Palestinian delegation though we have no objection to providing an umbrella for our Palestinian brethren, since we are keenly aware that both Jordanians and Palestinians are besieged as the parties directly and adversely affected by the continuation of the status quo of the Arab-Israeli conflict.'
"Fourth, the peace we seek must be based on United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338. The objective is real peace. We must emphasize that our understanding of resolution 242 is that it is based on the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the exchange of land for peace. The deliberations preceding its adoption and in which Jordan participated were based on that principle. Our position is firmly based on United Nations resolutions and international law. We are aware that Israel's creation was the result of United Nations resolution 181 of 29 November 1947. It is in accordance with the strength of these resolutions as well as the general principles of international law that Jordan demands the total withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied Jordan, Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese lands.
"The three dimensions of the Jordanian position - the Jordanian, Palestinian and regional - are founded on international law. Resolution 242 is a valid international instrument unanimously agreed upon by the international community. It is binding on all Member States of the United Nations in accordance with Article 25 of the United Nations Charter.
"Arab sovereignty must be restored in Arab Jerusalem. In the context of peace, Jerusalem will represent the essence and symbol of peace between the followers of the three great monotheistic religions. It is God's will that has made the historic city important to them all.
"The illegal settlements should be removed and not augmented; the issue of Palestinian refugees and that of the displaced must be solved in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions. The Palestinian people must be allowed to exercise their right of self-determination in their ancestral homeland. The fulfilment of these demands is a question of the credibility of the United Nations resolutions. Let me speak plainly - Jordan has never been Palestine and will not be so.
"Withdrawal from Lebanon and the application of United Nations Security Council resolution 425 is also an essential prerequisite for the establishment of a regional peace.
"Fifth, the peace we seek as a result of negotiations is a permanent one, a just and comprehensive peace - peace that will focus on region-wide issues such as arms control and regional security, water, the environment, the fate of the Palestinian refugees and the displaced, and the economic balance among the peoples of the area through joint development programmes. Peace must mean security for all, protected by all in their hearts and souls, because it is founded on justice and honour.
"Sixth, our position is also predicated on our vision of a better future that will replace the present bitterness and frustration and, in the words of King Hussein:
'... enable us to transform these realities into positive forces that will take us from despair to hope, from confrontation and the four decades of suffering, anxiety and pain that accompanied it, and which left an imprint on our lives, to peace and its promise of security, stability, opportunities and prosperity for all; from the no-war-no-peace situation and its real dangers, to a condition of certainty and ease which will enhance the creativity and hopes of the younger generation ...'
"We seek a real peace where men, women and children do not have to cower behind fortresses. Our quest is for an honourable peace that would enable our peoples to tear down the walls of fear and hatred, as people tore down the Berlin Wall. We want our peoples to welcome a new dawn and to enjoy the warmth of a new day, rather than the long night of darkness, which has been their fortune until now.
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
"It is our hope that the world appreciates and supports our position based as it is on our liberal and peaceful Jordanian experiment in socio-economic and political development. An experiment that deserves support as it continues the Jordanian tradition of democratization, institutionalization and the transition of political pluralism. The test, indeed the challenge of peace, is both domestic and global in that it severely exacerbates our current economic crisis, as we are compelled to absorb a third wave of returnees in the wake of the Gulf crisis.
"We hope that this peace conference will work toward the solution of all these momentous problems, leading not only to the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Arab occupied lands, including Arab Jerusalem, but also to the delineation of Israel's permanent borders and finally real peace.
"We have taken a bold step which commits us to innovative thinking that will bring peace and prosperity to the region. The parties to the conflict suffer from too many recollections of their wounded cultures. Somehow we must endeavour to bring about the change needed. We cannot continue to inhabit two different universes in this small space of land with its limited resources. Already there is too much ideological rigidity that continues to be an obstacle to sensible and regional life. For those who continue to think in absolute terms we must emphasize that while history may have time, men are mortal; that not only our civilizations need their wounds to be healed, but the very land, scarred by the march of armies to the drums of war, needs mending as well. There exists a limit to force and this may be the moment to heal not only the mental agony but also to remove the physical trenches dug deep in the land. This requires patience, vision, perseverance and wisdom deeper than mere intelligence.
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
"It is fitting to end this statement with a verse from the Holy Koran:
'Let not a people's enmity towards you
incite you to act contrary to justice;
Be always just, that is closest to
(The Holy Koran, Sura 5 - 8)"
Palestinian representative, Haidar Abdel Shafi
"Secretary Baker, Foreign Minister Pankin, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
"On behalf of the Palestinian delegation, I would like to extend our warmest gratitude to our host, the Government of Spain, for its gracious hospitality, and to King Carlos and Prime Minister Gonzalez. We thank the co-sponsors of this Middle East Peace Conference for their relentless efforts in convening this conference. A special thanks is due from our delegation to the United Nations and to the nations of Europe and Scandinavia, for their consistent and principle support for the rights of the Palestinian people.
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
"We meet in Madrid, a city with the rich texture of history, to weave together the fabric which joins our past with the future, to reaffirm a wholeness of vision, which once brought about a rebirth of civilization and a world order based on harmony in diversity.
"Once again, Christian, Moslem and Jew face the challenge of heralding a new era enshrined in global values of democracy, human rights, freedom, justice and security. From Madrid we launch this quest for peace, a quest to place the sanctity of human life at the centre of our world and to redirect our energies and resources from the pursuit of mutual destruction to the pursuit of joint prosperity, progress and happiness.
"We, the people of Palestine, stand before you in the fullness of our pain, our pride and our anticipation, for we have long harboured a yearning for peace and a dream of justice and freedom. For too long the Palestinian people have gone unheeded, silenced and denied - our identity negated by political expediency, our rightful struggle against injustice maligned and our present existence subsumed by the past tragedy of another people.
"For the greater part of this century, we have been victimized by the myth of 'a land without a people', and described with impunity as 'the invisible Palestinians'. Before such willful blindness, we refused to disappear or to accept a distorted identity. Our
is a testimony to our perseverance and resilience, waged in a just struggle to regain our rights.
"It is time for us to narrate our own story, to stand witness as advocates of a truth which has long laid buried in the consciousness and conscience of the world. We do not stand before you as supplicants, but rather as the torch-bearers who know that in our world of today, ignorance can never be an excuse. We seek neither an admission of guilt after the fact, nor vengeance for past inequities, bur rather an act of will that would make a just peace a reality. We speak out, ladies and gentlemen, from the full conviction of the rightness of our cause, the verity of our history, and the depth of our commitment. Therein lies the strength of the Palestinian people today, for we have scaled the walls of fear and reticence and we wish to speak out with the courage and integrity that our narrative and history deserve.
"The co-sponsors have invited us here today to present our case and to reach out to 'the other' with whom we have had to face a mutually exclusive reality on the land of Palestine. But even in the invitation to this peace conference, our narrative was distorted and our truth only partially acknowledged. The Palestinian people are one, fused by centuries of history in Palestine, bound together by a collective memory of shared sorrows and joys and sharing a unity of purpose and vision. Our songs and ballads, our folk talks and children's stories, the dialect of our jokes, the images of our poems, that hint of melancholy which colours even our happiest moments are as important to us as the blood ties which link our families and clans.
"Yet an invitation to discuss peace, the peace we all desire and need, comes to only a portion of our people. It ignores our national, historical and organic unity. We come here wrenched from our sisters and brothers in exile to stand before you as the Palestinians under occupation, although we maintain that each of us represents the rights and interest of the whole. We have been denied the right to publicly accredit our loyalty to our leadership and system of government, but allegiance and loyalty cannot be censored or severed. Our acknowledged leadership is more than just the democratically chosen leadership of the Palestinian people: it is the symbol of our national unity and identity - the guardian of our past, the protector of our present, and the hope of our future. Our people have chosen to entrust it with their history and the preservation of our precious legacy. This leadership has been clearly and unequivocally recognized by the community of nations, with only a few exceptions who had chosen, for so many years, shadow over substance.
"Regardless of the nature and conditions of our oppression, whether the dispossession and dispersion of exile or the brutality and repression of the occupation, the Palestinian people cannot be torn asunder. They remain united, a nation wherever they are, or are forced to be.
"And Jerusalem, ladies and gentlemen, that city which is not only the soul of Palestine but the cradle of three world religions, is tangible even in its claimed absence from our midst at this stage. Its apparent, though artificial, exclusion from this conference is a denial of its right to seek peace and redemption, for it too has suffered from war and occupation. Jerusalem, the city of peace, has been barred from a peace conference and deprived of its calling. Palestinian Jerusalem, the capital of our homeland and future State, defines Palestinian existence - past, present and future - but itself has been denied a voice and an identity. Jerusalem defies exclusive possessiveness or bondage. Israel's annexation of Arab Jerusalem remains both clearly illegal in the eyes of the world community and an affront to the peace that this city deserves.
"We come to you from a tortured land and a proud, though captive, people, having been asked to negotiate with our occupiers, but leaving behind the children of the
, and a people under occupation and under curfew, who enjoined us not to surrender or forget. As we speak, thousands of our brothers and sisters are languishing in Israeli prisons and detention camps, most detained without evidence, charge or trial, many cruelly mistreated and tortured in interrogation, guilty only of seeking freedom of daring to defy the occupation. We speak in their name and we say: set them free.
"As we speak, the tens of thousands who have been wounded or permanently disabled are in pain: let peace heal their wounds. As we speak, the eyes of thousands of Palestinian refugees, deportees and displaced persons since 1967 are haunting us, for exile is a cruel fate: bring them home. They have the right to return. As we speak, the silence of demolished homes echoes through the halls and in our minds: we must rebuild our homes in our free State.
"And what do we tell the loved ones of those killed by army bullets? How do we answer the questions and the fear in our children's eyes? For one out of three Palestinian children under occupation has been killed, injured or detained in the past four years. How can we explain to our children that they are denied education, our schools so often closed by army fiat? Or why their life is in danger for raising a flag in a land where even children are killed or jailed? What requiem can be sung for trees uprooted by army bulldozers? And, most of all, who can explain to those whose lands are confiscated and clear waters stolen, the message of peace? Remove the barbed wire, restore the land, and its life-giving water.
"The settlements must stop now. Peace cannot be waged while Palestinian land is confiscated in myriad ways and the status of the occupied territories is being decided each day by Israeli bulldozers and barbed wire. This is not simply a position: it is an irrefutable reality. Territory for peace is a travesty when territory for illegal settlement is official Israeli policy and practice. Settlements must stop now.
"In the name of the Palestinian people, we wish to directly address the Israeli people with whom we have had a prolonged exchange of pain: let us share hope instead. We are willing to live side by side on the land and the promise of the future. Sharing, however, requires two partners willing to share as equals. Mutuality and reciprocity must replace domination and hostility for genuine reconciliation and coexistence under international legality. Your security and ours are mutually dependent, as entwined as the fears and nightmares of our children.
"We have seen some of you at your best and at your worst, for the occupier can hide no secrets from the occupied, and we are witness to the toll that occupation has exacted from you and yours. We have seen your anguish over the transformation of your sons and daughters into instruments of a blind and violent occupation - and we are sure that at no time did you envisage such a role for the children whom you thought would forge your future. We have seen you look back in deepest sorrow at the tragedy of your past and look on in horror at the disfigurement of the victim turned oppressor. Not for this have you nurtured your hopes, dreams and your offspring.
"This is why we have responded with solemn appreciation to those of you who came to offer consolation to our bereaved, to give support to those whose homes were being demolished, and to extend encouragement and counsel to those detained behind barbed wire and iron bars. And we have marched together, often choking together at the non-discriminatory tear gas or crying out in pain as the clubs descended on both Palestinian and Israeli alike. For pain knows no national boundaries and no one can claim a monopoly on suffering.
"We once formed a human chain around Jerusalem, joining hands and calling for peace. Let us today form a moral chain around Madrid and continue that noble effort for peace and the promise of freedom for our sons and daughters. Break through the barriers of mistrust and manipulated fears. Let us look forward in magnanimity and in hope.
"To our Arab brothers and sisters, most of whom are represented here in this historic occasion, we express our loyalty and gratitude for their life-long support and solidarity. We are here together seeking a just and lasting peace whose cornerstone is freedom for Palestine, justice for the Palestinians and an end to the occupation of all Palestinian and Arab lands. Only then can we really enjoy together the fruits of peace: prosperity, security and human dignity and freedom.
"In particular, we address our Jordanian colleagues in our joint delegation. Our two peoples have a very special historic and geographic relationship. Together, we shall strive to achieve peace. We will continue to strive for our sovereignty, while proceeding freely and willingly to prepare the grounds for a confederation between the two States of Palestine and Jordan, which can be a cornerstone for our security and prosperity.
"To the community of nations on our fragile planet, to the nations of Africa and Asia, to the Muslim world and particularly to Europe, on whose southern and neighbourly shores we meet today: from the heart of our collective struggle for peace, we greet you and acknowledge your support and recognition. You have recognized our rights and our Government, and have given us real support and protection. You have penetrated the distorting mist of racism, stereotyping and ignorance and committed the act of seeing the 'invisible' and listening to the voice of the silenced. Palestinians, under occupation and in exile, have become a reality in your eyes and, with courage and determination, you have affirmed the truth of our narrative. You have taken up our cause and our case, and we have brought you into our hearts. We thank you for caring and daring to know the truth - the truth which must set us all free.
"To the co-sponsors and participants in this occasion of awe and challenge, we pledge our commitment to the principle of justice, peace and reconciliation based on international legitimacy and uniform standards. We shall persist, in our quest for peace, to place before you the substance and determination of our people, often victimized but never defeated. We shall pursue our people's right to self-determination, to the exhilaration of freedom and to the warmth of the sun as a nation among equals.
"This is the moment of truth: you must have the courage to recognize it and the will to implement it for our truth can no longer be hidden away in the dark recesses of inadvertency or neglect. The people of Palestine look at you with a straightforward, direct gaze, seeking to touch your heart, for you have dared to stir up hopes that cannot be abandoned. You cannot afford to let us down, for we have lived up to the values you espouse and we have remained true to our cause.
"We, the Palestinian people, made the imaginative leap in the Palestine National Council of November 1988, during with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) launched its peace initiative based on Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, and declared Palestinian independence based on resolution 181 of the United Nations, which gave birth to two States in 1948: Israel and Palestine. In December 1988, a historic speech before the United Nations in Geneva led directly to the launching of the Palestinian-American dialogue. Ever since then, our people has responded positively to every serious peace initiative and has done its utmost to ensure the success of this progress. Instead, Israel, on the other hand, has placed many obstacles and barriers in the path of peace to negate the very validity of the process. Its illegal and frenzied settlement activity is the most glaring evidence of its rejectionism, the latest settlement being erected just two days ago.
"These historic decisions of the Palestine National Council wrenched the course of history from inevitable confrontation and conflict towards peace and mutual recognition. With our own hands, and in an act of sheer will, we have molded the shape of the future of our people. Our parliament has articulated the message of a people with the courage to say 'yes' to the challenge of history, just as it provided the reference in its resolutions last month in Algiers and in the Central Council meeting this month in Tunis, to go forward to this historic conference. We cannot be made to bear the brunt of other people's 'no'. We must have reciprocity. We must have peace.
"Ladies and gentlemen, in the Middle East there is no superfluous people outside time and place, but rather a State sorely missed by time and place - the State of Palestine. It must be born on the land of Palestine to redeem the injustice of the destruction of its historical reality and to free the people of Palestine from the shackles of their victimization. Our homeland has never ceased to exist in our minds and hearts, but it has to exist as a State on all the territories occupied by Israel in the war of 1967, with Arab Jerusalem as its capital, in the context of that city's special status and its non-exclusive character.
"This State, in a condition of emergence, has already been a subject of anticipation for too long. It should take place today, rather than tomorrow. However, we are willing to accept the proposal for a transitional stage, provided interim arrangements are not transformed into permanent status. The time-frame must be condensed to respond to the dispossessed Palestinians' urgent need for sanctuary and to the occupied Palestinians' right to gain relief from oppression and to win recognition of their authentic will. During this phase, international protection for our people is most urgently needed, and the
application of the Fourth Geneva Convention is a necessary condition. The phases must not prejudice the outcome: rather they require an internal momentum and motivation to lead sequentially to sovereignty. Bilateral negotiations on the withdrawal of Israeli forces, the dissolution of Israeli administration and the transfer of authority to the Palestinian people cannot proceed under coercion or threat in the current asymmetry of power. Israel must demonstrate its willingness to negotiate in good faith by immediately halting all settlement activity and land confiscation while implementing meaningful confidence-building measures. Without genuine progress, tangible constructive changes and just agreements during the bilateral talks, multilateral negotiations will be meaningless. Regional stability, security and development are the logical outcome of an equitable and just solution to the Palestinian question, which remains the key to the resolution of wider conflict and concerns.
"In its confrontation of wills between the legitimacy of the people and the illegality of the occupation, the
's message has been consistent: to embody the Palestinian State and to build its institutions and infrastructure. We seek recognition for this creative impulse which nurtures within it the potential nascent State. We have paid a heavy price for daring to substantiate our authenticity and practice popular democracy in spite of the cruelty of occupation. It was a sheer act of will that brought us here, the same will which asserted itself in the essence of the
, as the cry for freedom, an act of civil resistance, and people's participation and empowerment. The
is our drive towards nation-building and social transformation. We are here today with the support of our people, who have given itself the right to hope and to make a stand for peace. We must recognize, as well that some of our people harbour serious doubts and skepticism about this process. Within our democratic, social and political structures, we have evolved a respect for pluralism and diversity, and we shall guard the opposition's right to differ within the parameters of mutual respect and national unity.
"The process launched here must lead us to the light at the end of the tunnel, and this light is the promise of a new Palestine - free, democratic, and respectful of human rights and the integrity of nature.
"Self-determination, ladies and gentlemen, can neither be granted nor withheld at the whim of the political self-interest of others, for it is enshrined in all international charters and humanitarian law. We claim this right; we firmly assert it here before you and in the eyes of the rest of the world, for it is a sacred and inviolable right which we shall relentlessly pursue and exercise with dedication and self-confidence and pride.
"Let us end the Palestinian-Israeli fatal proximity in this unnatural condition of occupation, which has already claimed too many lives. No dream of expansion of glory can justify the taking of a single life. Set us free to reengage as neighbours and as equals on our holy land.
"To our people in exile and under occupation, who have sent us to this appointment laden with their trust, love and aspirations, we say that the load is heavy, and the task is great, but we shall be true. In the words of our great national poet, Mahmoud Darwish: 'My homeland is not a suitcase, and I am no traveller'. To the exiled and the occupied, we say: You shall return and you shall remain and we will prevail, for our cause is just. We will put on our embroidered robes and kufiyyas and, in the sight of the world, and celebrate together on the day of liberation.
"Refugee camps are no fit [home] for people who had been reared on the land of Palestine, in the warmth of the sun and freedom. The hail of Israeli bombs, almost daily pouring down on our defenceless civilian population in the refugee camps of Lebanon, is no substitute for the healing rain of the homeland. Yet, the international will had ensured their return in United Nations resolution 194 - a fact willfully ignored and unenacted.
"Similarly, all other resolutions pertinent to the Palestinian question, beginning with resolution 181, through resolutions 242 and 338, and ending with Security Council resolution 681, have, until now, been related to the domain of public debate, rather than real implementation. They form the larger body of legality, including all relevant provisions of international law, within which any peaceful settlement must proceed. If international legitimacy and the rule of law are to prevail and govern relations among nations, they must be respected and, impartially and uniformly, implemented. We, as Palestinians, require nothing less than justice.
"To Palestinians everywhere: today we bear in our hands the precious gift of your love and your pain, and we shall set it down gently here before the eyes of the world and say - there is a right here which must be acknowledged, the right to self-determination and statehood: there is strength and there is the scent of sacred incense in the air. Jerusalem, the heart of our homeland and the cradle of the soul, is shimmering through the barriers of occupation and deceit. The deliberate violation of its sanctity is also an act of violence against the collective human, cultural and spiritual memory and an aggression against its enduring symbols of tolerance, magnanimity and respect for cultural and religious authenticity. The cobbled streets of the Old City must not echo with the discordant beat of Israeli military boots: we must restore to them the chant of the muezzin, the chimes of the church bells, the call of the rams and the prayers of all the faithful calling for peace in the City of Peace.
"From Madrid, let us light the candle of peace and let the olive branch blossom. Let us celebrate the rituals of justice and rejoice in the hymns of truth, for the awe of the moment is a promise to the future, which we all must redeem. The Palestinians will be free, and will stand tall among the community of nations in the fullness of the pride and dignity which by right belongs to all people. Today, our people under occupation are holding high the olive branch of peace. In the words of Chairman Arafat in 1974 before the UN General Assembly: 'Let not the olive branch of peace fall from my hands'. Let not the olive branch of peace fall from the hands of the Palestinian people."
Foreign Minister of Lebanon, Fares Boueiz
"Mr. James Baker, Secretary of State of the United States of America, Mr. Boris Pankin, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union, Excellencies, heads of delegations, ladies and gentlemen,
"I have pleasure, in the name of the President of the Republic of Lebanon, H.E. Mr. Elias Hraoui and on behalf of the Government of Lebanon, to extend my deepest thanks to Spain, to His Majesty the King, to His Majesty's Government and to the Spanish people for hosting this conference on this land steeped in history.
"I would also like to convey my thanks to the Spanish authorities and administration for their meticulous organization and for the effective arrangements which they have successfully implemented in a very short space of time, responding thereby to the unanimity of all concerned to hold this conference in this beautiful capital, Madrid.
"Such unanimity and warm greetings are but a proof of the trust placed by the world and by us in this great country, the seat of a rich civilization of which visible evidence abounds.
"This unanimity embodies everyone's desire that Spain be the place where the hopes of the peoples of the world converge and that the triumph over instinct, the upholding of right, justice and reason and the search for peace be the loftiest standards of civilization.
"This conference, held under the title of peace, is without any doubt of paramount importance and can become possibly the most important gathering since the Second World War.
"Peace is the aspiration of humanity, the end sought by peoples the world over, the purpose for which all religions, philosophies and ideologies strive.
"Conscious of the importance of this Conference, it is our duty to express our deep gratitude to the United States of America and the Soviet Union for their unstinting efforts to hold this conference.
"We also appreciate the efforts made by States and other parties who supported the convening of the conference and are sincerely contributing to its success.
"Our praise is due to the efforts pursued by Presidents George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev to convene this conference and for the time they devoted to it in spite of numerous other problems in the world.
"I would like to mention particularly Minister Boris Pankin who followed and lent his support aimed at holding the conference and to Secretary James Baker who devoted his exceptional skills and capacities to the achievement of this major accomplishment, thus demonstrating rare determination and ability.
"I would like to extend my thanks to Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez for his valued speech and the European Community for being here with us and for its firm position which was expressed by Minister van den Broek, acting president of its Council of Ministers.
"Lebanon, a country which believed in the message of peace, tolerance and coexistence, a country which practiced openness and understanding and nurtured the exchange of ideas and knowledge, welcomes this historic opportunity to let peace prevail in a region whence religions, laws and civilizations emanated and which gave birth to thought and philosophies, witnessed the pharaohs and the advent of Abraham, Jesus Christ and Mohammed, the sons, companions, prophets and Imams. Pyramids, sanctuaries, temples, churches, mosques were erected, to which Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Mecca and Najaf bear witness.
"It is a land where civilizations interacted, the Sumerian, Phoenician, Pharaonic, Babylonian, Greek, Byzantine, Ottoman and Arab and where the outlines of temples intermingled with the pillars of sanctuaries and the engravings in churches.
"This is where the history of the world and its conscience lie. It contains for every man, wherever he may be, an element of his identity. It is the patrimony of humanity and we are but guardians of its sanctuaries and protectors of its heritage. From here springs our glory. We are its custodians as generations go by. Lebanon is proud of its Arab identity which binds it to countries with which it has a common history, language, culture and destiny.
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
"Today we have come from a land small in size, modest in terms of population, not particularly endowed with natural resources but large in the aspirations of its people, rich in civilization, great in terms of its contribution to the world to whom it gave the alphabet, also culture and knowledge.
"We have come to you today from a land which was and still remains a beacon of science to the world in all its dimensions such as the Beirut Roman school of law, Justinium and Papinium and up to our universities, our writers, our poets and our thinkers to this day.
"We have come to you today from a land whose sons have crossed seas and deserts towards the five continents and distant lands, where they integrated into other societies, formed friendships with their fellowmen, built and prospered.
"We have come from a land coveted by greed where doctrines and policies went into conflict, where cultures and philosophies collided, so much so that it was said that the country had vanished forever.
"Wars tore it asunder, wars waged by others on its soil. For 16 years our country bled. Some said it had died. The number of mourners increased. The concept of libanization was born to mean countries agonizing and peoples being torn apart. Here is Lebanon, like the phoenix, rising from its ashes, belying those who betted on its demise and played the card of its annihilation.
"Here is Lebanon today in spite of the deep wounds and the bitter trial returning to the family of nations, reaffirming that it is too strong to be liquidated and too large to be struck off the map or forgotten, more steadfast than a mere transitional or temporary State. Here it is to stay and to watch the ramparts of the will of its sons rebuff wave after wave. It is here in spite of all predictions, calculations, pessimistic analysis as if it alone knows that its fate is to live and its mission to continue.
"The message, if at all, of the Lebanese war is that the Lebanese formula will not fade away because it is founded upon inevitability of conviviality.
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
"You have heard a great deal about Lebanon. No doubt, you know that this small country has practised and lived the great human experiment which the international community is about to enter into.
"You know that all divine religions, their sects and ramifications exist in Lebanon which presented an ideal opportunity for all ideas and doctrines be they political, philosophical or social, to meet and interact. The prevailing climate of democracy and individual and social freedom was the real guarantee enabling one to live and to practice these experiences. From this viewpoint we in Lebanon are in a position to enrich the concept of the new world order and to consolidate its foundations. This we say in the light of our bitter experience which has shown that the various ideas, doctrines and religions cannot but live together.
"The concept of the new world order, although not clearly defined as yet, would derive benefit from our experience and will be based on the unshakable realities of the societies it seeks to encompass and on the necessity of coexistence.
"Having paid the price of the international and regional conflicts which were reflected on our soil, we have set out on the path to internal peace and have succeeded in carrying out a number of essential and important tasks thereby surprising everyone. The challenge and the dream came together. We first set up a Government of national unity which adopted and applied the Taif agreement. We also introduced a number of constitutional amendments to ensure a wider and more globally based political participation of all the components of the Lebanese formula. The State undertook to dissolve the militias and collect their weapons, artificial barriers which had split areas, sects and parties were dismantled and the Lebanese were assimilated again into society thus rejecting the separation which had been forced upon them.
"The State then started rebuilding its national, security and administrative institutions, the army regained its unity and began to deploy, spreading the authority of the Lebanese State on most of its territory thus paving the way for Lebanese sovereignty to be exercised on Lebanese soil.
"All this took place in the brief span of time with modest means compensated only by the support of some of our brothers and friends. Lebanon proved once again it was capable of overcoming its trials and tribulations and astonish the world. Miracles are easy when destiny is at stake. The State did all it could on the home front and frustrated a number of claims such as Lebanon cannot be unified or cannot take a national decision. But our great endeavour will not totally succeed as long as there are pending questions which go beyond our internal borders and touch upon regional as well as international factors.
"Events have shown that Lebanon is whole and cannot be fragmented. The south and the north, the Bekaa, Beirut and the mountains are all part of it. Deprived of any of its areas, it would lose a vital limb, bleed forever, struggle and vent its rage on every part of the world. This rage often turning into resistance against occupation.
"Violent acts increased, their victims were to be found among the Lebanese and non-Lebanese alike. This violence though painful at times was nothing but an anguished expression of passionate determination to let justice prevail.
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
"Events have proved that South Lebanon, in particular, can detonate a conflagration of the entire situation, that its sons would express their wrath as long as they have to suffer the yoke of occupation and as long as United Nations resolutions and international laws, which guarantee a solution to the problem, are ignored and not respected.
"This occupation and the accompanying events and developments have cost Lebanon and the world dearly.
"Every country has, one way or the other, paid the price of Israeli occupation of the South.
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
"Lebanon was and still is a peace-loving country, co-founder of the United Nations Organization, President of one of the sessions of the General Assembly and contributor to the establishment of several international organizations namely the International Court of Justice, of which it was a member. It also took part in the drafting of the International Covenant of Human Rights.
"Lebanon adheres to international legitimacy and abides by UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions as well as the rules of international law.
"Lebanon calls for a new international order where principles of law, rejection of aggression and peaceful settlement of disputes prevail.
"Lebanon attaches great importance to the implementation of resolution 425 since the Armistice Agreement of 1949 still governs the situation with Israel. Article 8 provides that 'this agreement shall remain in force until both parties reach a peaceful agreement'.
"It is for all these reasons that Lebanon has sought and still seeks to apply Security Council resolution 425 of 19 March 1978 which calls for strict respect for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized boundaries.
"It also calls upon Israel to cease its military action against Lebanese territorial integrity and withdraw forthwith its forces from all Lebanese lands.
"The resolution decided to establish immediately an interim force for South Lebanon under the authority of the United Nations for the purpose of confirming the withdrawal of Israeli forces, restoring international peace and security and assisting the Government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area.
"Although resolution 425 met obstacles which prevented its immediate, total and unconditional implementation, in keeping with the letter of its text, due to the persistent refusal by Israel to implement it, these have only redoubled Lebanon's insistence on its literal application.
"Lebanon views the implementation of this resolution as a challenge to and a test of the sincerity of the international community which must demonstrate seriousness in complying with its own resolutions and in finding the necessary elements to implement both letter and spirit of that document.
"The implementation of this resolution would show clearly that the international community does not apply double standards, that what is true of its compliance with international law and its respect of the sovereignty exercised by independent States on their territory extends to all regions and all cases without any discrimination.
"I must, in this respect, remind you that Lebanon was the first Arab country to condemn the aggression on Kuwait. Lebanon never faltered one instant throughout the crisis. Its position was based on the principle of the sovereignty and independence of States even though Lebanon found it difficult to apply international law by force to a fraternal Arab country, albeit an aggressor.
"The Lebanese Government, who wishes this conference total success would like to assure you that it will spare no effort to have resolution 425 implemented whatever path this conference may follow and whatever its final results may be. We have notified the two co-sponsors of this conference, the United States and the Soviet Union, that our acceptance of the invitation to attend was predicated on this position. Here I would like to praise the numerous friendly countries which have supported our position, namely the United States of America, which has notified us in writing of its firm position which is that the total implementation of resolution 425 does not depend upon a comprehensive solution in the region nor is it linked to it, even though such a solution would enhance peace and stability in Lebanon.
"Resolution 425 is a separate and complete resolution, comprising an inherent detailed mechanism for its implementation. It is in no way linked to any of the efforts being pursued to apply the international resolutions related to the question of the Arab territories occupied in 1967, namely resolutions 242 and 338.
"We wish these efforts to come to a successful, rapid and total conclusion but as we do so, we reiterate that Lebanon is concerned above all with the total liberation of its territory. Lebanon accepted no substitute to resolution 425 and expects that the search for peace and the emerging signs of the new international order will contribute towards eliminating the obstacles which stand in the way of its implementation and will overcome once and for all the procrastination experienced in enforcing it.
"Upon implementation of resolution 425, Lebanon will firmly undertake to control the security of its internationally recognized borders and will pre-empt any security breaches, thereby removing any justification for acts of resistance against the occupation.
"The borders themselves are covered by resolution 425 which is based on the Armistice Agreement of 1949. They are internationally recognized and can in no way be the subject of negotiations.
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
"Lebanon is situated in the Middle East. It has embraced the region's thoughts, beliefs, creeds and philosophies. It has also suffered from the conflicts which have swept it. More than others, the Lebanese are aware, their country being at the crossroads of East and West, where land meets sea, that there can be no real peace if peace is not comprehensive and does not encompass all its peoples and parts.
"Peace will be enjoyed by no one in the region if volcanoes are still erupting on our borders, if peoples are still oppressed and rights are still violated.
"Lebanon, co-founder and active member of the League of Arab States, is committed to the Arab cause and in particular to the cause of the Palestinian people, its right to self-determination, to return to its land, to free the Arab occupied territories and to establish a just peace in the region.
"Lebanon is keen to ascertain its solidarity with the Arab position, calling for the implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 which form the basis for this conference in the sense of the formula 'land for peace'. The pursuance of the settlement policy will definitely have an adverse effect on all peace efforts in the region. As for the Palestinian problem, which is at the heart of the Middle East conflict, its global and just solution would allow the region to enjoy what it deserves in terms of stability, security and tranquility. This applies particularly to our country, Lebanon, which has paid the highest price because of the expulsion of the Palestinian people from its homeland. Lebanon itself was the target of two large-scale Israeli invasions in 1978 and 1982 which have taken an enormous toll in human life and property. I regret to remind you that Israeli attacks on my country, Lebanon, have not ceased but rather continued until yesterday and are perhaps being carried out now as I speak to you. Lebanon, with its small territory not exceeding 10,450 square kilometres, with its social, political and economic structure and its modest natural resources was able, with difficulty, to shelter displaced Palestinians while awaiting the settlement of their cause. But Lebanon will not be able to provide them with the basic necessities of a decent life, nor include them without suffering a negative impact on its internal situation. This would in turn lead to conflict and struggle in order to satisfy basic, social, economic and even political requirements on its land. This is why Lebanon cautions against any attempt to solve the Palestinian problem by settling the Palestinians on a narrow strip of land where a large population if living within a delicate and sensitive balance. There the struggle for survival would become dangerous; it will not give Palestine back to its people and would lead to the very loss of Lebanon. Settlement projects ignore the fact that peoples belong to their land and are attached to it. In this region of the world, the land is the source of identity, love for the homeland is an article of faith and authenticity is rooted in the land.
"The land for the Lebanese, Palestinian and Arab peoples is intimately linked to their identity, heritage, authenticity and origin. Relinquishing this will forever be in the minds of these peoples a justification for rancour, frustration and revolt.
"The situation is further exacerbated when citizens are uprooted from their homeland, their birthplace, under various unrealistic slogans, cut off from their environment, their culture, the soil they tilled, their achievements, to be forced in their hundreds of thousands to leave wide expanses of land and faraway continents in order to be settled on a narrow band of territory which is the object of contention and fighting, a country they did not know and to which they are not realistically linked. By this I mean the Soviet citizens who are being pushed into emigration and are being uprooted from their natural environment.
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
"The time has come for the Middle East to become part of the new world order. The time has come for the peoples of this region of the world to know what peace and a happy life can mean.
"The time has come for this region where religions, civilizations, cultures and peoples coexisted in peace to find its authenticity.
"The time has come for individual and collective energies to be set free in order to serve development and prosperity.
"The time has come for the peoples of the region to become an active component of the international order rather than being a burden for it and a source of anxiety for its members.
"The time has come for this region to be the rule of international law rather than its exception.
"The time has come for this region to be again a bridge between continents instead of being a barrier to their coming together.
"The time has come for the peoples of the region with their authenticity and their heritage to rediscover and to play their historic role in reaching out for human horizons and shaping their future.
"The time has come for the peoples of this region to free themselves from the ruthless state of permanent mobilization which was imposed on them and which has undermined their natural development and wasted their potential on wars and armies.
"The time has come for the peoples of the region to provide the means of their own development rather than rely on precarious and transient foreign sources for survival.
"The time has come for all to see that the balance of power is transient and can be altered.
"The time has come to seize upon historic opportunities and to replace sterile assessments with healthy analysis.
"The peoples of the region, we assure you, are faced today with an historic opportunity which will not always present itself. Before them lies the chance to come out of their introversion, a chance brought about by exceptional, favourable and rare circumstances as well as considerable efforts and perhaps even fate.
"The conflict was so long and so acute that people became accustomed to the logic of strife and discord and enclosed themselves in it. Any venture for peace by any leader deserves to be valued, praised and supported in the face of refusal by rejectionists and outbidding of profiteers. Were we to lose this rare opportunity and were we to fail to respond to those who decided to seize upon it and chose to resist the easy temptation of extremism, the propension to aggression and to give in to instincts, we shall have to bear the responsibility of history and future generations will hold us to account. The alternative to success in our attempt to reach peace through this conference is lurking behind the door. It lies in the conviction which will spread in the area that peace is impossible and openness sterile. It lies in the belief which will spread in the region that the failure of this historic endeavour will close the door to any new venture in the foreseeable future.
"It lies in the conviction which will prevail in that part of the world that political, religious and sectarian extremism is the only way to resist oppression and injustice.
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
"Let us stand behind the rational and the wise, let us foil the stakes bid on despair, rancour and hatred.
"Lebanon has emerged from the hell of overlapping wars waged on its soil. Lebanon is recovering its health, sovereignty and historical role. Lebanon is committed to the success of this conference and to upholding justice. Lebanon would simply like to say to you the following:
'No to the balance of terror.
Yes to the concerted forces of peace.
No to injustice and imbalance.
Yes to the triumph of peace.'
"May God guide our steps and inspire us. Thank you."
Foreign Minister of the Syrian Arab Republic, Farouk al-Sharaa
"Distinguished Co-Chairmen, ladies and gentlemen,
"I would like to begin my statement at this opening session of the peace conference by addressing my deep thanks to His Majesty, King Juan Carlos and to the Government and people of Spain for hosting this historic conference and for all the facilities and care they have offered participating delegations. On behalf of my country, Syria, its President, Government and people, I would like to express our deep appreciation to this friendly country, Spain, with which we enjoy deep-rooted historic, human and cultural ties, whose manifestations are still alive and bright to this very day.
"I would also like to express my thanks to the co-sponsors of the conference, the United States of America and the Soviet Union, for the determination they have demonstrated to convene this conference at the date proposed by Presidents George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev.
"In this context, I would like to express my appreciation for the great efforts of President Bush, supported by President Gorbachev, which were the pre-eminent factor in imparting to the peace process unprecedented momentum and seriousness. Consequently, this conference cannot be considered a ceremonial event, as one of the participating parties had wanted. Rather, it is an international event which has aroused interest in the entire world.
"In addition, I cannot fail to recall the sustained personal efforts of Secretary James Baker during his eight visits to our region, particularly the important, lengthy and frank talks he held in Damascus. These talks, by their seriousness and the positive atmosphere which surrounded them, have indeed helped to make the convening of this Peace Conference possible.
"It must be emphasized at this point that the role of Europe in the peace process is both important and vital. Europe is geographically close to our region. Security in one region cannot fail to affect that of the other while both share common interests.
"The role of the United Nations, regardless of the status alloted it in this conference, remains important as long as the objective of the peace process is to reach a comprehensive, just and peaceful settlement within the framework of international legitimacy and on the basis of United Nations resolutions and as long as the results reached by the parties are to be sanctioned by the Security Council.
"The convening of this Peace Conference in this beautiful country, Spain, evokes boundless symbols, meanings and images. The peoples of the entire world, not only the peoples of our region, are buffeted by conflicting feelings towards this conference, feelings fluctuating between success and failure, between optimism in achieving peace and the pessimism of a regression to conflict and confrontation. It is no exaggeration to state that the continuing intransigent Israeli position, which is bereft of any justification, is the one that places the world on the brink of incalculable dangers and prevents the region from enjoying peace.
"The Arabs, throughout their long history, have always advocated peace, justice and tolerance. Their history, both ancient and modern, abounds with evidence of this fact. The Jews, and Oriental Jews in particular, know better than anyone that they have lived among Muslim Arabs throughout history wherever they coexisted without ever suffering any form of persecution or discrimination, either racial or religious. Rather, they have always lived in grace and dignity, participating in all walks of life. The Jews have never known security, tolerance and equality approximating the security, tolerance and equality they have enjoyed in the lands of Arabs and Muslims. Anyone perusing the pages of history today will realize the blatant contrast between this tolerance and full equality with which the Arabs treated the Jews for hundreds of years, on the one hand, and the persecution, injustice and discrimination inflicted on the Arabs - particularly Palestinian Arabs - languishing under Israeli occupation, on the other.
"Suffice it to recall - if only the reminder were heeded - that had Israel's political orientation since 1948 been humane, millions of Arabs, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese, would not have been uprooted from their homes; nor would they have been denied - until today - their right to return. Had Israel's policies not been settler-colonialist, Palestinians languishing under Israeli occupation since 1967 would not have been denied all their fundamental rights, foremost among which is their right to self-determination. It is that very right that the Palestinians - children, women and the elderly - have steadfastly expressed through their peaceful
during the past four years, as seen and heard by the entire world. The continuing denial of the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people will lead this people to believe that resorting to violence alone is the most viable means of achieving that right.
"The list of evidence of inhuman Israeli practices is long and documented. These are practices which were condemned by dozens of resolutions adopted by the United Nations. These are practices of which the Israelis are tacitly cognizant. They are known to many a fair-minded historian and journalist in the West, although some do not dare address these practices frankly and unequivocally for reasons which are regrettably not known to wide sections of European and US public opinion. First among these reasons is that Jewish extremists both inside and outside Israel harass those writers and journalists and jeopardize their livelihoods and future. If they happen to be Christian they are accused of being anti-Semitic. But if they are Arabs and Muslims it is easiest to accuse them - without any evidence whatsoever - of terrorism and the intention of destroying Israel. Contrary to every law and norm, the burden of proof in the minds of these extremists is incumbent on the accused. Thus the innocent becomes a suspect in the eyes of a large sector of Western public opinion. The aggressors who have usurped the land of others by force thus become the advocates of peace, whereas the victims of aggression who demand the return of their occupied land and their usurped rights become terrorists and destructive warmongers.
"We have never carried the banner of war and destruction. Syria has consistently called for the achievement of comprehensive and just peace on the basis of United Nations resolutions. We have always emphasized our sincere intention and serious desire for peace. At the height of the October war, President Hafez al-Assad said:
'We do not revel in death and destruction, instead we are repulsing death and destruction. We are not aggressors and we have never been, but we have and continue to repel aggression. We do not wish death on any one, but we are protecting our people from death. We love freedom and wish it both for ourselves and for others.'
"Peace and the usurpation of the land of others cannot coexist. For peace to be stable and durable it must encompass all parties to the conflict on all fronts. Developments in our region have proved this fact. Israel exploited the signing of its peace with Egypt in 1979 to then proceed to annexing Jerusalem in 1980, the Golan in 1981 and invading Lebanon in 1982. It is clear that Israel perpetrated this series of aggressive acts at a pace that exceeds the pace of its withdrawal from the Egyptian Sinai.
"In the aftermath of each act of aggression the Security Council was called upon to convene and resolutions were unanimously adopted: resolution 476 declaring the annexation of Jerusalem null and void; resolution 497 declaring the imposition of Israeli laws in the Golan as being null and void and with no international legal validity, and resolution 425 calling for unconditional Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.
"However, as was the case with resolutions 242 and 338, these resolutions were not implemented at the time due to Israeli rejection and intransigence and due to the atmosphere of the cold war between East and West. Now, as the cold war has come to an end, as the spirit of confrontation and competition between the United States and the Soviet Union has given way to a new stage of reconciliation and cooperation, and as the Peace Conference has convened, the peoples of our region and of the world at large await the implementation of these resolutions at the earliest date through serious and productive talks.
"It is noteworthy to point out in this context that Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, on the basis of which the Peace Conference is being convened, were adopted as a compromise among the permanent member States of the Security Council. As it is well known, the majority of these States have been sympathetic to Israel since its creation. Hence, the implementation of these two resolutions should not be the subject of new bargaining during bilateral negotiations. Rather, they should be implemented in all their provisions and on all fronts. Resolution 242 emphasizes in its preamble the principle of 'the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war'. This means that every inch of Arab land occupied by the Israelis by war and force: the Golan, the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip must be returned in their entirety to their legitimate owners. International public opinion is aware more than ever before - and especially following the Gulf crisis - that double standards are no longer acceptable in this age; that the principles of international law, not the law of the jungle, must be respected, and that United Nations resolutions, not brute force, must be applied.
"At last, the States of the world have come to realize that Israel alone resists the efforts for peace with all the influence it can muster. It is Israel which perpetuates its occupation of the territories of others by force. All have come to realize that Israel follows a futile and obsolete ideology based on expansion, the building of settlements and the uprooting of Arabs from land in which they had lived for centuries in order to replace them with new immigrants who have never lived in this region.
"In this regard, Syria would like to remind the co-sponsors of the conference, and through them the international community, that Israeli occupation of Syrian and Palestinian territories has resulted in uprooting approximately half a million Syrian citizens from the Golan who have to date not been able to return. The occupation has also resulted in the presence of over a quarter of a million Palestinian refugees in Syria who are denied the right to return to the homeland of their fathers and forebears in Palestine.
"The claims invoked by Israel for the migration of world Jewry to it at the expense of the native Arab population are not sanctioned by any legal or humanitarian principle. If the entire world were to adopt such claims it would have to encourage all Christians to emigrate to the Vatican and all Muslims to holy Mecca.
"It is a contradiction in terms that Israel refuses to implement United Nations resolution 194 of 1948 which provides for the return of all Palestinian refugees to their homes and for compensation to those who do not wish to return, under the pretext that there is not enough land. Yet, at the same time, Israel continues to induce hundreds of thousands of new Jewish immigrants to settle in this very land and to abandon their lands of origin such as the Soviet Union, which extends over one sixth of our planet's land mass.
"We believe that the time for inconsistencies and empty pretexts whose only aim is to justify the perpetuation of occupation and annexation has now passed. We believe that all parties, both aggressors and victims, now stand at the threshold of a historic opportunity - which may not come about again - an opportunity to end long decades of destructive conflicts and to establish a durable, comprehensive and just peace that would deliver the region from the vicious circle of war and usher in a new era in which the peoples of the region may devote themselves to its prosperity and development.
"In order for a just peace to be established no Arab land must remain under Israeli occupation, nor can the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination remain denied.
"If the objective is truly for the peoples and the States of the region to coexist, to enjoy security, peace and prosperity, to place their plentiful energies and resources at the service of their economies and development ... how can such a desirable objective logically be realized without eliminating occupation and restoring legitimate rights?
"The Arabs have given much for peace. They have openly declared that they desire peace. They merely demand the enjoyment of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Charter of the United Nations to all peoples and which have been recognized by the international community and the world at large for every people.
"Alone among all the States of the world, Israel insists on maintaining its hold on the Arab territories which it occupied by force under the pretext of security; as if geographic expansion can guarantee security in this age of scientific and technological advancement. Were the world to emulate this Israeli logic, how many wars and conflicts will arise between neighbouring States under that pretext?
"The Arabs have responded to the call of the co-sponsors of the conference in appreciation of their efforts and serious endeavour to work towards a just and comprehensive peace in the region.
"However, Israel would be gravely mistaken were it to interpret this Arab response as a licence for it to perpetuate its intransigent stands within the conference or any of its committees. Israel would also be doing itself an injustice -more so than to others - if it were to take lightly the peace process or the unanimous international wish to reach a just and comprehensive settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict in accordance with the criteria of international legitimacy as well as the spirit and letter of the Charter of the United Nations and its resolutions.
"Despite Syria's numerous reservations concerning the format and terms of reference of this conference, the Syrian Arab delegation has come to attempt to reach a comprehensive, honourable and just peace to all aspects and fronts of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Our delegation has come carrying inexhaustible reserves of good will, a genuine serious desire for a just peace and determination to help enable this peace process succeed and reach its noble objective. That determination is only equalled by a no lesser determination to reject any attempt to exploit the current peace process to legitimize that which is illegitimate and unacceptable according to the United Nations, its Charter and resolutions; or to obtain any gains - however small - which would mirror the abhorrent injustice of aggression or which would reward the aggressor.
"This firm Syrian position, whose every element is anchored in the principles of international legitimacy and resolutions of the United Nations, deems it imperative for Israel to withdraw from every inch of the occupied Syrian Golan, Jerusalem, the Gaza district and the south of Lebanon. This position also deems it imperative to safeguard the legitimate political and national rights of the Palestinian people, foremost among which is its right to self-determination.
"The building of settlements in the occupied Arab territories is an illegal action; it is considered null and void and it stands as a major obstacle in the way of peace. Thus, it is imperative that the settlements be removed. The continuation of settlement activity in the Arab-occupied territories, particularly since the peace process commenced, is tangible evidence that Israel does not want to reach genuine peace.
"Syria's acceptance of President Bush's initiative, which is based on Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 and the principle of 'land for peace', has opened the way to the peace process - as has been acknowledged by all. Our presence as participants in this conference embodies our desire to achieve comprehensive and just peace. Our agreement to undertake bilateral talks is clear indication of our serious contribution to building a genuine and comprehensive peace in the region.
"However, concern for the success of the peace process requires that multilateral talks, which do not fall within the framework of resolution 242, not be initiated until substantive and concrete achievement has been made in bilateral negotiations, which would confirm the elimination of the major obstacles on the road to peace. That is because Israel - as everyone knows - is not interested in implementing resolutions 242 and 338 on the basis of the principle of 'land for peace'. Israel is only interested in entering into negotiations on economic cooperation with the States of the region while perpetuating its occupation of Arab territories. This is in contradiction with the objective on which the convening of this conference was based.
"We have come for an honourable and just peace based on international law and legitimacy. We have not come for a false peace which reflects the conditions imposed by the aggressor and the yoke of occupation.
"We have come for a genuine peace encompassing all the fronts of the Arab-Israeli conflict and not for a peace which would address one aspect of the conflict to then merely cause new conflicts and tensions in the region.
"Proceeding from our belief in such a peace, we confidently and resolutely declare our determination to work towards a comprehensive, just and peaceful settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict which would liberate the land, and guarantee the national rights of the Palestinian people as well as security for all.
"Were the Peace Conference to succeed in achieving these objectives, which are the focus of world expectations, it would herald a new dawn in our turbulent region and the beginning of a new era of peace, prosperity and stability."
Prime Minister of Israel, Itzhak Shamir
"Distinguished Co-Chairmen, ladies and gentlemen,
"Let me first apologize, as I have to leave this hall immediately after my statement, together with some of my colleagues, in order to return to Israel before sunset, in time for the advent of our holy day of rest. I trust no one will see in this a sign of disrespect.
"Let me also express again our thanks and appreciation to our Spanish hosts and to the co-sponsors for putting so much effort in making this conference possible.
"For two days, we have sat in this hall, armed with a lot of patience, to listen to what our Arab neighbours have to say.
"We have heard much criticism and many charges. We can respond to each and every charge, to every misrepresentation of history and fact - and there were quite a few - and we can refute every contention. We, too, can cite morality, justice and international legality in our favour.
"But is this what we have come here for? Such futile exchanges and rebuttals have been taking place during the last 43 years at the UN and in countless international gatherings. They have not brought us one inch closer to mutual understanding and peace. This is precisely why we have persistently called for direct, face to face talks. Nevertheless, we came here out of goodwill, hoping there might be a change, a turn for the better in tone and content, that would lead us to a new and more promising chapter. And we have not given up this hope.
"Let me therefore make just a few remarks, not for the sake of polemics, but to shed light on a few facts.
"Syria's representative wants us and the world to believe that his country is a model of freedom and protection of human rights, including those of the Jews. Such a statement stretches incredulity to infinite proportions. The ancient Jewish community in Syria has been exposed to cruel oppression, torture and discrimination of the worst kind. Most of the Jews fled the country over the years and the few thousand left are living in perpetual terror. Anyone who tries to cross the border is incarcerated in prison, beaten and tortured, and his family exposed to punishment and constant fear. But not only are the Jews the victims of the Syrian regime. To this day, Syria is the home of a host of terrorist organizations that spread violence and death to all kinds of innocent targets, including civil aviation and women and children of many nations. I could go on and recite a litany of facts that demonstrate the extent to which Syria merits the dubious honour of being one of the most oppressive, tyrannical regimes in the world. But this is not what we have come here for.
"To the Lebanese people, our neighbours to the north, we send a message of sympathy and understanding. They are suffering under the yoke of Syrian occupation and oppression and are denied even the capacity to cry out in protest. We bear no ill-will to the courageous and suffering Lebanese, and we join them in the hope that they will soon regain their independence and freedom. We have no designs on Lebanese territory, and in the context of a peace treaty and the removal of the Syrian presence, we can restore stability and security on the borders between our two countries.
"In many respects, we have a situation of de facto non-belligerency with the Kingdom of Jordan. We sincerely believe that a peace treaty with Jordan is achievable. In the context of such a treaty, we will determine together the secure and recognized boundaries, and lay the foundation for a relationship of mutual cooperation and neighbourly relations. Both countries stand to gain from a relationship of peace and we hope to achieve it through direct, bilateral negotiations.
"I listened attentively to the statement of the Palestinian Arab spokesman in the joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation. The Palestinian Arabs are our closest neighbours and in many respect, their lives are intertwined with ours. This is one more reason for the importance we attach to an accommodation with this community.
"The Palestinian Arab spokesman made a valiant effort at recounting the sufferings of his people. But let me say that twisting history and perversion of fact will not earn them the sympathy which they strive to acquire. Was it not Palestinians who slaughtered a major part of the Jewish community of Hebron, without any provocation? Was it not Palestinians who rejected every peace proposal since the beginning of the century and responded by violence? Was it not Palestinians who produced a leader who collaborated with the Nazis in the extermination of Jews during the Holocaust? Was it not the Palestinians who called their Arab brethren in 1948 to come and help them destroy the Jewish State? Was it not the Palestinians who rejoiced and danced on the roofs when Iraqi Scud missiles were falling on Tel Aviv? Have they forgotten that more Palestinians were killed by their own brethren in a few recent years than in clashes with Israeli security forces? Even to this very day, under conditions which you describe as occupation, is it not a fact that any Jew who strays into an Arab village risks his life, but tens of thousands of Palestinian Arabs walk freely in every town and village in Israel and no one molests them?
"We have presented the Palestinians a fair proposal, one that offers them a chance to improve their lot immensely. I appeal to them to accept our proposal and join us in negotiations.
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
"We have come here to seek together the road that would lead us to peace and accommodation, rather than to engage in a match of charges and counter-charges. Peace is not just words or a signature on a piece of paper. Peace is a frame of mind and a set of actions that are the opposite of hostility, and create a climate of mutual trust, tolerance and respect.
"With an open heart, we call on the Arab leaders to take the courageous step and respond to our outstretched hand in peace. Yesterday, I extended an invitation to come to Israel for the first round of peace negotiations and begin a sincere exchange that would lead to agreement. We hope you will accept our invitation. We will readily reciprocate. I am sure I speak for every man, woman and child in Israel, who join me in the hope that, after all, this gathering will be registered in history as a turning point, away from hostility and forward to coexistence and peace.
Foreign Minister of Jordan, Kamel Abu Jaber
"Mr. James Baker, Secretary of State, Mr. Boris Pankin, Foreign Minister,
"The Jordanian position is based on sound moral grounds, adhering to principle, adhering to provisions of international law, United Nations resolutions, international legitimacy and the guarantees of the five permanent members of the Security Council, particularly the two co-sponsors. We had hoped that this would induce a sense of balance especially since we emphasized the need to structure a negotiated settlement based on an institutionalized, legal framework. Instead, it appears as if time stood still as far as Israel is concerned. We had hoped and still do, that the spirit of Madrid would cause a change of heart and attitude leading to the development of a substantive position. What we heard, however, was in fact a further retreat into the old ideological molds, clearly designed to distract, worse, derail the process.
"Sadly enough, what we heard was a reiteration of past positions, emphasizing yet another retrenchment, another retreat from the spirit of compromise. Positions clearly designed to obfuscate not only historical annals to fit a particular prejudice, but worse still to push the other side climb behind the rigid ideological trenches it has been attempting to scale. Surely, the Israelis must have known that when they arrived in Palestine it was not an empty territory. It was inhabited by the ancestors of the Palestinians. Even then it was already called 'the land of milk and honey'.
"It is not our aim now, nor has it been when we first outlined our position, to indulge in a historical debate. We too have our own vision of history and our tale to tell. And while there is soft elegance in our culture there is also fierce durability that even now has an opinion about the bold stand we have taken. We had hoped that we will get out of our past, not in the spirit of denying it - never - but in the hope of looking towards the future: a better, brighter future for the children of our region. We hoped that all the participants will capture the present historic moment, and live up to it, instead of a process of selective rewriting of history.
"The core of the present Arab-Israeli conflict revolves around the occupied territories. To say that '... the issue is not territory' is a gross reduction of the truth. We have come here prepared to make peace within the context of a comprehensive and just peace settlement. The time has come for Israel to recognize the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people on its own territory, its ancestral homeland. No amount of denying the fact will make it disappear.
"The negatives embodied in the Israeli address were in stark contrast to the willingness on the Arab side to negotiate an honourable settlement. Again Israel said: No to Palestinian self-determination, no to withdrawal from the West Bank, including Arab Jerusalem; no to withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, Jordanian territory as well as the Lebanese south. Bluntly and publicly Israel effectively declared its intention to maintain its illegal position and continue its settlement programme.
"We hoped that the time may have come for Israel to overcome the heavy burden of its past wounds and to follow a path leading towards a better future. Instead it continues to cling to yesterday, nursing its mental and physical wounds. We have avoided negativism as well as code words designed to irritate, hoping to take a first step towards bridging the great divide. We had hoped to silence the call of the wild and the absolutist rhetoric.
"We emphasized our vision of an honourable, durable and comprehensive peace with which we and our children can live with. We too need to look ourselves in the mirror with pride and we will. That is we based our position on 242 and 338 while we emphasized our recognition, even these were less than ultimate justice.
"Jordan is irrevocably committed to the noble cause of peace and we stand ready now, as we have always been to pay our fair share for its realization. But, let me say it again, we are not seeking peace at any price. Far from it. We are seeking justice, fairness and legality.
"Israel can have either land or peace, but it cannot have both. It can have the true security that comes from a negotiated political solution. Force alone will never provide security. Only when accepted by its neighbours, as parts of the region, not merely in it.
"Let me reiterate Jordan's position which rests on the simple and valid principle of 'land for peace'. What is why we call on Israel to abide by United Nations Security Council resolutions 242, 338 and 425 pertaining to the occupied territories, the Syrian Golan Heights and Lebanon.
"Israel's refusal to abide by these resolutions undermines the credibility of the world body and seriously raises the issue of asymmetry and double standard, in applying international law.
"The Palestinians must have and exercise the right of self-determination on their own soil. That is why the immediate halting of the establishment of settlements is an essential prerequisite of a comprehensive regional settlement.
"Not only Israel is in need of security, but every country in the region too. Considering the imbalance in the military equation, it becomes obvious that the Arab side is the party in more need of security guarantees.
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
"We have not come to Madrid, the venue of this historic international conference simply to debate, discuss or score points against each other. We came here with the intention of seriously considering the elements of a comprehensive peace settlement. Our approach remains constructive, and our faith and confidence in the seriousness and commitment of the co-sponsors is unshakable.
"It may be very well that Israel wants peace, but it wants the Arabs alone to pay the price. Again we find it necessary to emphasize that the issue is territory: an exchange of land for peace that carries with it the promise of a brighter future going far beyond mere existence.
"In firmly and clearly calling for an honourable and lasting settlement we had hoped to move the region from the past into a promising future. Instead we find that Israel still has both its feet firmly planted in the past."
Palestinian representative, Haidar Abdel Shafi
"Secretary Baker, Foreign Minister Pankin, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
"We wish first to congratulate the co-sponsors for succeeding where so many have failed before. The fact of the conference itself convening is no negligible feat, but a tribute to sheer persistence, tenacity and hard work. For this, we extend our appreciation.
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
"For this historic conference to succeed requires, to borrow a literary phrase, a 'willing suspension of disbelief', the predisposition and ability to enter alien terrain where the signals and signposts are often unfamiliar and the topography uncharted. This solemn endeavour on which we are embarking here in Madrid demands of us a minimal level of sympathetic understanding in order to begin the process of engagement and communication. For this interdependent age demands the rapid evolution of a shared discourse that is capable of generating new and appropriate perceptions on the basis of which forward-looking attitudes may be formed and accurate road maps drawn.
"Failing this, time will not spare us and our peoples will hold us accountable. Thus, we have the task, rather the duty, of rising above status and hardset concepts, of discarding theological arguments and regressive ideology, and of abandoning rigid and constricting positions. Such attitudes barricade the speaker behind obdurate and defensive stances, while antagonizing or locking out the audience.
"Eliciting instant responses through provocation and antagonism would, admittedly, generate energy, but such energy can only be short-lived and ultimately destructive. Energy with direction, real momentum, emerges from a responsible and responsive engagement between equals, using recognizable terms of reference regardless of the degree of disagreement.
"In all honesty, we, the Palestinian delegation, came here to present you with a challenge - to lay our humanity before you and to recognize yours, to transcend the confines of the past, and to set the tone for a peace process within the framework of mutuality, expansiveness and acknowledgement. We deliberately refused to limit the options before us to one or to fall into the trap of reductive entrenchment with a rigid either/or argument. Ladies and gentlemen, peace requires courage to make and perseverance to forge.
"In his opening statement, President Bush sent a strong message, not just to the participants, but to the world as a whole - a peace pledge with the dual signs of 'fairness and legitimacy' as necessary components. We were gratified, for the Palestinian peace initiative is firmly grounded in these two principles. Most speeches which followed reaffirmed them and sought to demonstrate seriousness of intent. The Israeli statement, however, remained the exception, imprisoned in its own anachronistic and antagonistic rhetoric, incapable of responding to the tone and implications of the occasion. But the days of domination, of manipulative politics are over, and the emergent realities of our contemporary world are consecrating the principles of moral politics and global harmony as the criteria and measures of value.
"We further find it incomprehensible how Israel can violate with impunity the integrity of the process and the consensus of the participants. United Nations Security Council resolution 242 and the principle of territory for peace constitute the terms of reference and the source of legal authority for the conference and negotiations, as stated in the letters of invitation. The positive response of the Palestinian people was primarily in recognition and appreciation of this commitment. The essence of 242, as formulated in its own preamble, is 'the inadmissibility of acquisition of territory by war', thus containing within it an internal and binding definition which renders it incapable of being variously or subjectively interpreted or applied. We came here to realize its implementation, not to indulge in exegesis or semantics or to be party to its negation or extraction from the peace agenda. This is not only an Arab and Palestinian requirement; it is also a demand of the international community and a test of validation for the new era in global politics.
"The same terms articulated in 242 apply to East Jerusalem, which is not only occupied territory, but also a universal symbol and a repository of cultural creativity, spiritual enrichment and religious tolerance. That today an apartheid-like pass system bars many Palestinians from entering our holy city is both painful and provocative. The gates of Jerusalem must be open. Palestinian Jerusalem is the vehicle of our self-definition and the affirmation of our uninterrupted existence on our land.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the issue is land, and what is at stake here is the survival of the Palestinian people on what is left of our olive groves and orchards, our terraced hills and peaceful valleys, our ancestral homes, villages and cities. International legitimacy demands the restoration of the illegally-occupied Arab and Palestinian lands to their rightful owners. Israel must recognize the concept of limits - political, legal, moral and territorial - and must decide to join the community of nations by accepting the terms of international law and the will of the international community. No amount of circumlocution or self-deception can alter that fact.
"Security can never be obtained through the acquisition of other people's territory, and geography is not the criterion for security. The opposite is actually true. Retaining or expanding occupied territory is the one sure way of perpetuating hostility and resentment. We are offering the Israeli people a unique chance for genuine security through peace; only by solving the real grievances and underlying causes of instability and conflict can genuine and long-lasting stability and security be obtained.
"We, the people of Palestine, hereby offer the Israelis an alternative to peace and security: abandon mutual fear and mistrust, approach us as equals within a two-State solution, and let us work for the development and prosperity of our region based on mutual benefit and well-being. We have already wasted enough time, energy and resources locked in this violent embrace of mutual destruction and defensiveness. We urge you to take this opportunity and rise to meet the challenge of peace.
"Settlements on confiscated Palestinian land and the expropriation of our resources will surely sabotage the process launched by this conference, for they are major obstacles to peace. They constitute a flagrant violation of Palestinian rights and the Fourth Geneva Convention. All settlement activity and confiscation of Palestinian land must stop, for these measures constitute the institutionalized plunder of our people's heritage and future.
"The Palestinians are a people with legitimate national rights. We are not 'the inhabitants of territories' or an accident of history or an obstacle to Israel's expansionist plans, or an abstract demographic problem. You may wish to close your eyes to this fact, Mr. Shamir, but we are here in the sight of the world, before your very eyes, and we shall not be denied. In exile or under occupation, we are one people, united despite adversity, determined to exercise our right to self-determination and to establish an independent State, led by our own legitimate and acknowledged leadership. The question of all our refugees will be dealt with during the permanent status negotiations under the terms of United Nations General Assembly resolution 194.
"We have already declared our acceptance of transitional phases as part of this process, provided they have the logic of internal coherence and interconnection, within a specified, limited time frame and without prejudicing the permanent status. During the transitional phase, Palestinians must have meaningful control over decisions affecting their lives and fate. During this phase, the immediate repatriation of the 1967 displaced persons and the reunion of separate families can be carried out.
"We have also expressed the need for protection and third-party intervention in the course of bringing about a settlement under such conditions of disequilibrium between occupier and occupied. For peace, as a state of civilization between societies, real peace between peoples, cannot precede the solution of the problems which are at the core of the conflict. It is the solution which opens the door to peace, and not the other way around.
"On these grounds, we hereby publicly and solemnly call upon the co-sponsors of the conference, directly or through the United Nations, to place the whole of the occupied Palestinian territories under their trusteeship pending a final settlement. The Palestinian people are willing to entrust you with the protection of their lives and lands until a fair and legitimate peace is achieved.
"They are the same people, our Palestinian people, who have celebrated the occasion of this conference by offering olive branches to the Israeli occupation soldiers. Palestinian children were decorating army tanks with this symbol of peace. Our Palestinian people under occupation and exile were here with us during the past three days, in our minds and hearts, and it is their voice that you have heard.
"To the co-sponsors and to the international community that seeks the achievement of a just peace in the Middle East, you have given us a fair hearing, you cared enough to listen, and for that we thank you."
Foreign Minister of Lebanon, Fares Boueiz
"Mr. President, today we conclude the preliminary stage of the Madrid conference, to which we came with an open mind and a desire to establish peace based on international and legitimate justice and the UN resolutions.
"We felt relieved as we listened to the speeches given by the two conference sponsors, Presidents Bush and Gorbachev, and their emphasis on the conference's fundamental issues namely, respect for international law, the inadmissibility of acquiring land by force, and the need to guarantee people's rights to security and self-determination.
"The Lebanese delegation listened with full interest to the speeches by all the parties who have been invited to negotiations to reach the desired peace. Lebanon would like to make the following remarks:
"First, the convocation of the conference was an inevitable first step toward realizing its objectives namely, to establish a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in our region based on international legitimacy and the UN resolutions;
"Second, we believe that the speeches by Presidents Bush and Gorbachev, particularly their emphasis that peace should be established on the basis of justice and fairness, are a valid foundation for the establishment of peace and stability in our region;
"Third, the speech given on behalf of the EC is viewed as an appreciated and balanced contribution to sincere efforts to realize the conference's goals. We noted with satisfaction the dedication of a paragraph to Lebanon supporting its demand to implement UN Security Council resolution 425;
"Fourth, listening to the debates, there was an obvious disparity between the Arab stand, which endeavoured to overcome hatred and remnants of the past and open a new chapter of regional relations based on wisdom and rationality, and the Israeli stand, which continued to insist on its traditional ideas and views which clearly prove counter to the regional peace process.
"The Israeli delegation's speech not only failed to declare Israel's acceptance of the conference's basic principles, which are based on the unanimity of both its organizers and other participants - namely, the UN resolutions and the formula of land for peace - but also persisted in its erroneous approach and in belittling international legitimacy and the UN Charter and resolutions. We had hoped the Israeli delegation would share our belief that the conference's success depends on the will by all parties to achieve peace, on the need to express this will openly, and on the need to take specific practical measures which are bound to build confidence. We still expect the Israeli party to state openly that they have this will by declaring their commitment to the implementation of resolutions 242 and 338 and the UN Charter, particular in terms of their emphasis on the people's right to self-determination, which now should be genuinely within the reach of all, particularly the Palestinian people.
"We noticed that the Israeli Prime Minister in his statement was trying to abolish the UN resolutions and cast doubts on their credibility, although Israel would not have emerged as a State were it not for the UN Security Council resolution which granted Israel part of Palestine.
"Moreover, if this is Israel's stand on the UN resolutions, what is the point of holding this conference, which is being held on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 and 338?
"Fifth, I move now to Lebanese issue. Lebanon has announced before and reiterates today it firm demand that Israel should immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw from all the Lebanese territories in implementation of UN Security Council resolution 425. It is quite remarkable that the head of the Israeli delegation spoke about peace, but took no step to match his words. On the contrary, Israel is attacking Lebanon and refusing to implement resolution 425. Was Israel's escalation of the situation in south Lebanon, which coincided with the conference, the best answer to the principles and objectives of this conference?
"Lebanon, a country which seeks peace and has made giant strides toward recovery despite difficulties and challenges, announces before all of you its commitment to enforce law and order over all its territories, particularly in the south, as soon as Israel implements resolution 425 and withdraws its forces behind the international borders in accordance with international law.
"The Lebanese delegation must reiterate that the implementation of resolution 425 should take place today, not tomorrow. This would be a stimulus for the Peace Conference and a fitting prelude to settling the region's problems.
"Sixth, we wish to announce our support for any ideas concerning the future, and which aim to develop the region and lay down the foundation for its construction, social justice, and economic prosperity. But we also wish to express our belief that negotiating on present matters is more urgent and beneficial than negotiating on future issues.
"Let us first concentrate on the present and reach an agreement on the pressing needs so that we will have time later on to address the future and its concerns. How can we discuss the way to share benefits when we are still weighed down by the burden of losses? Peace would be greatly served by a statement concerning the status of Jerusalem, the cessation of settlement-building, and the adherence to the land-for-peace principle. We believe that to open multilateral negotiations, tangible progress should be made on bilateral ties.
"Finally, we note that the head of the Israeli delegation has noted Israel's commitment to preserving Lebanon's independence and its lack of ambition over Lebanese territories. This, however, makes us wonder about Israel's reason for occupying the Lebanese south, its incessant harassment of the population, its instigation of violence, and its provocations and insults against the inhabitants.
"Lebanon's independence, which apparently is so important to Israel, begins with the south and cannot be complete as long as the south is under occupation. From the south, Israel has penetrated the Lebanese home front, bringing with it an array of regional and international conflicts. Israel knows full well that Syria has helped the lawful Government of Lebanon to rebuild the State's institutions, consolidate national unity, and disarm the militias. Lebanon's relations with Syria should not be a matter concern for Israel. Israel is trying to link its occupation with the Syrian presence. The Syrian presence, however is regulated by the Al-Taif Agreement, which has the endorsement of the international community led by the United States.
"Finally, Israel's attempt to link its withdrawal with any other factor would mean a clear refusal to implement resolution 425, which is unconditional. Thank you."
Foreign Minister of the Syrian Arab Republic, Farouk al-Sharaa
"I wanted to read a statement which I had prepared to reply to the speech made by the head of the Israeli delegation which he made yesterday. But the head of the Israeli delegation, who has just left, paying no heed to this historic conference and to the peace process, has taken a different course from the chief subject on whose basis the conference is held, which is the achievement of just, comprehensive and lasting peace in an area which has not known security, stability and well-balanced development for long decades.
"Yesterday, some Western journalists said the Syrian speech was perhaps tough, and I told them it was not tough. Rather it gave facts and realities as they are, and I challenged some of them when I said I shall find it strange if the Israeli delegation can find one single paragraph to answer to. This challenge was not out of place, because I never accused Israel of anything that is not in it, and thus the head of the Israeli Government could not reply to any word or expression by which I described the Israeli policy in our region.
"Today, I find it necessary to make clear some facts because those, for us, for the co-sponsors of the conference and for the international community, are very important points closely connected with the future peace, security and stability of the area and for the world security in general. Therefore, I would briefly say that the head of the Israeli Government did not mention in his speech United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, which in effect means that they are not on the course for which the conference is convened. This also means a rejection of even the invitation issued by the co-sponsors, the United States and the Soviet Union, who said in the invitation that the conference convenes on the basis of resolutions 242 and 338. Naturally he did not talk about the principle of land for peace because he openly said he does not want peace. He who analyses his words will immediately come to the conclusion that he says if the Arab side comes to the conference or to the talks to speak about land, we shall arrive at a dead-end.
"Naturally, I would not talk about history which the head of the Israeli Government yesterday used because it was a false and fabricated history that is not based on realities, not does it rely on neutral world historians, particularly European and American historians who were sympathetic to Israel, as is well-known. He writes a special history as he sees it. For example, he says the Palestinian refugees left Palestine because the Arab Governments asked them to. This is not true, and the Israeli delegation will not have one single document to confirm this.
"Second, if we take it for granted that those Palestinians left by order of Governments at the time, why, then, doesn't the head of the Israeli delegation who is talking about peace with empty words, ask them to go back to their lands. Arab Governments now agree to this. They demand this.
"The head of the Israeli delegation yesterday openly pointed out that Palestine is the only homeland for all world Jews. He considered a Jew who lives in any other country in the world, however hospitable this country is - the United States, for instance, which is really hospitable to all Jews, and has treated them well, as the Arabs have treated them throughout their history - as an exiled Jew; diaspora. This means that a Jew in the United States is not an American citizen, having no allegiance to the United States, as the head of the Israeli Government claims. His allegiance would be to Israel because there a Jew is only a resident whose aim is to go to Israel, notwithstanding everything that the States had offered him support and backing inside the US and on the international arena.
"They want a Soviet Jewish citizen not to stay in the Soviet Union. I am confident that what he says does not express the truth. There are many honourable Jews in the Soviet Union and the United States and in Europe who declare allegiance to those homelands where they lived and grew up. Hence, one would easily conclude that the concentration on this point in itself is a real desire by the Israeli head of Government to keep tension high not only in our region but all over the world as well, to keep the Jewish question alive in memory. He does not want the Jews to be equally treated. He always wants to see the Jews persecuted, and tortured, contrary to world facts now. When he talks, for instance, about Syrian Jews. Jews in Syria are subject to the law like any other Syrian citizen, be he Moslem or Christian. They know, the whole world knows, everybody who visited Syria knows, historians know, that a Syrian Jew lives in the same freedom and equality as any other Syrian citizen. I shall briefly cite a paragraph of a report by a European parliamentary delegation who visited Syria only two months ago:
'Syria has an amazing religious freedom, for those who know little about Moslem Arab countries. What we saw astonished us. Religious freedom is perfect in Syria because the State considers itself secular, thus Judaism, Catholicism, Orthodoxism and Islam with all its sects express themselves in Syria and freely perform their religious duties.'
"Of course, they distribute pamphlets through Israeli embassies in Europe to talk about persecutions of Jews and drive people to demonstrate before Syrian embassies. No more than 20 or 50 persons carry false banners that Jews in Syria are persecuted, or they are hostages. Nonsense.
"I would like to get to an important point because the subject of the conference is peace.
"The head of the Israeli delegation yesterday admitted that he would not return any part of the land, as I have just pointed out. Especially when he talked about the area for Palestinians, he indicated an area which is more than the area of Mandated Palestine. This means he reaffirms occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, Golan. Anybody who looks carefully into this will find out the truth.
"The Arabs are the only people who lived in Palestine over millennia of years. Even when the Jews came from the south through Sinai, the Palestinians were there in Palestine. I do not want to elaborate on this period.
"I wonder if the head of the Israeli Government says it is the right of every Jew to return to Palestine after an absence of about 2,000 years. Then how is it that a Palestinian whose absence is only 40 years has no right to return? Which is more realistic? A Palestinian who still remembers his house, who may even have the key to his house, or talk about the return of Jews who were there 2,000 years before. This is a difference between 40 and 4,000 years, which was discussed by the head of the Israeli Government. He talked about freedom of worship. We all know, through the media, and Arab media, that they encourage Israeli extremists to destroy sacred places, the act of arson against the holy Aqsa Mosque, their attempt to destroy the Aqsa Mosque and they claim they try those people.
"Israeli control over Jerusalem is not a guarantee for any of the three religions, or for the city to remain holy with its spiritual places eternal, to remain the city of peace, so long as it is under Israeli control and under the feet of their soldiers.
"I had wanted to concentrate on peace for which we have come. But before this let me show you an old picture of Shamir, when he was 32 years old. The caption says, - it is distributed in Europe. At that time he was 32 years old. Height 165 cm., then the other details which you all know. This picture was distributed because he was wanted. He himself confessed he was a terrorist. He confessed he practised terrorism and participated in murdering UN mediator Count Bernadotte in 1948, as far as I remember. He kills peace mediators and talks about Syria, Lebanon, terrorism. I cite another example: Israel in 1954 hijacked a Syrian civilian aeroplane, and downed a Libyan civilian aeroplane.
"The problem is that I don't have enough time to talk about Israel's terrorist practices which needs volumes, not only a quarter of an hour. But I would like to briefly say that Israel hijacked a Syrian civilian aeroplane in 1954 with passengers on board between Cairo and Damascus. Israel downed a Libyan plane in 1973, as I remember, and killed over 100 civilian passengers. Israel hijacked a Syrian plane six or seven years ago which was carrying a Syrian political delegation. Had Syria not hastened to file a complaint with the Security Council, the plane would not have been released.
"Yesterday I gave our perception of terrorism and we believe he could not respond to any word of it. I don't want to disturb you with more details. If anyone wants more, they can refer to it.
"He says the 1967 war was defensive. In their media they say the Arabs attacked Israel in 1967. They insult historians. I would like to say one final word. Regardless of who occupied, or who started the war in 1967, the text of the resolution is clear, Mr. President, that it prohibits the acquisition of other people's land by war. This land must be returned.
"Finally, and simply, Mr. President, we have come here for peace. We shall continue to work for peace out of our faith in this peace. We declare with confidence and resolution our determination to work for just and comprehensive peace that liberates the land, and guarantees rights and security for all parties. We would find it strange if the Israeli side declined to continue the bilateral talks or created excuses to prevent their continuation in Madrid.
"I am sorry, Mr. President, I took a longer time but I have to clarify those facts.
Foreign Minister of Egypt, Amre M. Moussa
"Co-Chairmen, distinguished delegates,
"Our meeting here, during the past three days, in these fabulous surroundings and warm hospitality graciously provided by our Spanish hosts, has been described as historic and momentous. I have been reflecting upon the real meaning of the conference, as I looked across this T-shaped conference table and listened to the different views of the parties. I asked myself: Are we on the threshold of a new era in the Middle East, as indeed we should be? The answer is in the affirmative. For whatever positions of one party or the other, we cannot, and we should not, continue arguing, trading accusations and recriminations.
"Old arguments and archaic strategies should be left at the wayside the moment we leave this conference. We have listened, especially today, to some passionate speeches, which manifest, once again, how acute the conflict in the Middle East is, and how the change in attitudes, change in concepts, is badly needed. And I address Israel mainly.
"Speeches, such as one we heard today, do not help the process of peace. This is not the language of peace. We came to negotiate, we came to talk to each other about the future. And we have a responsibility to do everything possible to make this endeavour succeed.
"Arab nations have come here to achieve peace with Israel. Her status is not questioned, not in doubt. Israel, we hope, has come to find peace with the Arabs, including, and in particular, with the Palestinians. A matter which entails by the necessity the respect of their rights in territory and in self-determination. This is a sine qua non for peace. The co-sponsors have committed themselves to continue working together, rather than against each other in the Middle East. This is a very important fact and very positive point.
"Our meeting here, ladies and gentlemen, must obviate past practices. Misrepresentation of facts must stop. Wild dreams of expansion must come to an end. Illegal acts such as building settlements should be frozen. More than anything else, and as never before, this conference places an awesome responsibility on the parties to demonstrate that peace has a chance, and that coming here was not in vain. This solemn quest for peace must be pursued, its full potential realized.
In the next few days, and in the weeks and months to come, different forms of negotiations shall, hopefully, commence. In the process, there will be continuing difficulties, moments of tension. But we must continue our search for peace, a just and fair peace, not peace at any price, but peace based on legality, on resolutions 242 and 338. Peace at the end must prevail.
"Egypt, a nation that has been at the forefront, both in war and in peace, a nation with deep Arab roots and peaceful relations with the Jewish State, knows more than anyone else in the Middle East the agony of war and the virtue of peace. From this unique perspective, and unparalleled experience, at least so far, Egypt shall continue to support the legitimate rights of all the nations in the region and participate in laying down the foundations for a stable, secure and prosperous Middle East. Egypt shall fulfil her role in the upcoming negotiations in order to ensure peace in the Middle East and address regional problems, in particular the arms race and the problem of the proliferation of arms of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons.
"Our common objective must be a consensus on how to coexist as equals. This will no doubt entail many difficult decisions for all sides. We must learn to reconcile ourselves with reality. There cannot be peace if we allow our dreams to cloud our vision. There can only be genuine peace, with all its implications, when Israel chooses sincerely to live with the Arabs and the Palestinians, respective their legitimate rights and ending the occupation of Arab lands.
"Israel also has rights, and the Arab side has demonstrated readiness to respect those rights as stipulated in resolutions 242 and 338. There is no escape from resolutions 242 and 338.
"We have a long road ahead of us. All of us have a contribution to make in ensuring that we march on. Confidence that all parties are sincerely pursuing peace will have to be continuously reinforced. We may need to reassure one another at each hurdle that there have been no regressions from the achievements of this conference in Madrid. Palestinian suffering must be alleviated. Many other confidence-building measures must be implemented.
"Peace is not a luxury, nor an option. Peace is an imperative. We must overcome our differences, and we shall overcome our differences. Thank you."
Representative of the European Community, Hans van den Broek
"I would like to take this opportunity in the first place to commend our co-chairmen in convening this historic opening conference where we see all parties around the table for the first time, which anyhow is historical. I believe indeed that this is no more than a beginning, a very important beginning. Having listened to all the contributions, I indeed am convinced how much we need a step-by-step process accompanied by confidence building measures from the very beginning.
"The greatest problem to overcome in the initial phase in the negotiating process, as far as I can see it, is overcoming mistrust and creating further solid foundations for meaningful negotiations in good faith. Many elements have been put on the table, many valuable incentives have been given by various delegations. Others have been accused of being too much withholding and looking too much in the past. We believe that bridges can be built and bridges have to be built. The European Community has very traditional and longstanding bonds with the Middle East and with all the parties alike. The European Community and its member States are not partisans in the favour of the one view point or the other but are partisans for legality. We are partisans for peace including security and justice for all without exceptions. We will continue to stand ready to assist this cause for any party that calls on us and we will remain in close and constant consultation with the co-sponsors in order to see that we further the process by cohesive action and coherent action.
"Messrs. Co-Chairmen, the Middle East that finds peace with itself can be a blessing not only for its own people, not only for its own environment but for the world as a whole. It has a lot to offer and it has a lot to gain. And we are firmly determined to help the Middle East achieve this goal. And as I have indicated in my first speech the day before yesterday, the European Community is fully prepared not only for a constructive partnership but also for a concrete partnership. We feel that parallel to the bilateral negotiations also multilateral negotiations should be started up in due course; not at the expense of the political process but in parallel with the political process and emphasizing that all the parties are masters of their own decisions and can decide when results achieved in the multilateral process should be put into effect, but identifying the splendid opportunities that are there when peace is achieved. The possibilities of cooperation in the region and the contribution that the European Community can also bring there more in concrete, we believe could be identified already at an early stage, thus giving an additional incentive to all the parties to reach a political solution which eventually will allow for peace but also for economic development and prosperity for all. I pledge, on behalf of the European Community and its 12 member States, a full assistance and readiness along the process for all those parties that so desire.
"Thank you very much."
Foreign Minister of the USSR, Boris D. Pankin
"I will now take the floor as head of the Soviet delegation. Ministers, participants in the conference, ladies and gentlemen:
"We have been working at this Madrid forum for three days. During these three days and despite everything, I - and I think most of you in attendance - have been under the impression that here, at the palace, we are probably making and participating in a historic turn in contemporary Near East history. Egyptian Foreign Minister Amre Muhammad Moussa wondered about this. I can answer him by saying that our conference might represent a turning point in the fate of the entire region. The perspective of a peaceful solution is now emerging for the Near East peoples, who for several decades have been suffering war and insecurity and who carry the burden of occupation, eviction from their homes, and terrorism. Apparently, mankind is now beginning to understand the vital importance of decisively stopping hostilities, enmity, and confrontation. The desire is now stronger for new approaches, based on a balance of interests, to solve the problems that have accumulated for decades. I understand perfectly that this is difficult and unique. I am convinced, however, that it is possible to fulfil with dignity this mission that history has entrusted to us and that we can do it in such a way that the winds of change can be a reality in the Near East, too.
"We know how much can be attained through dialogue, by each of the sides coming to meet the others. The road to Madrid has been difficult and complex. For the representatives of Israel and the Arab States to meet, it was necessary to overcome obstacles that sometimes appeared insurmountable. It was necessary for many countries to make every effort and carry out detailed and painstaking work, to seek uncommon solutions intently, and to make realistic commitments. Each of the participants in the Near East conference had to put forward all its goodwill and lay aside many stereotypes and taboos. We have succeeded in passing through this stretch of the road. For the time being, however, this is just that, one stretch of the road. I wish to recall that the Soviet Union always favoured convening this Near East forum, which might give impetus to the search for solutions in this region.
"The possibility of making a practical
emerged after President Gorbachev and President Bush met in Helsinki in September. The Soviet Union and the United States pledged to act jointly in the interest of a radical solution in the Near East situation. Without a doubt, the interaction and cooperation of two big Powers has been one of the decisive factors that has made it possible to convene this Madrid conference. During the preparation stages, the Soviet Union and the United States kept in touch constantly and acted as partners, complementing each other's efforts. Particularly intense and coordinated actions were taken in the final stage of preparations for the conference. I would like to point out that the European Community's efforts played an important role in the preparatory stages of this conference. The Western European countries possess considerable potential to make a constructive contribution in establishing cooperation and good-neighbour relations among the countries of this region. We congratulate ourselves on the participation of the European Community representatives in this peace process.
"By itself, the convocation for peace is a remarkable step forward and a shared success. It is important, however, for us to prevent this from getting out of hand and to make sure that our efforts are not made in vain.
"This is the moment of transition to bilateral and multilateral talks. The three days of work at the conference have not diminished my hopes of overcoming this moment. As one of the final orators, I have a great advantage over those who preceded me. I must take the opportunity to share my views on the results of these three days of work.
"With all the emotions we have seen here, the delegation leaders seemed to have focused on the most agonizing problems of the Near East. The broad spectrum of points of view that emerged during the talks has not blinded us to what we have in common and to the issue that all sides agree on: an interest in establishing a lasting and just peace in the Near East and in resolving the problems that have turned the region into the world's powder keg.
"Each of us has his own model solution for the problems in the Near East, where peace, harmony, justice, and security are needed. These models may differ in certain details, even in important ones. This is inevitable because we cannot deny the differences in our historical experiences, traditions and passions. Undoubtedly the authors of each of these models would like to believe that their models are feasible. I believe all models should have one main starting point: they should seek a balance of interests.
"Allow me, since I have followed President Gorbachev, to state briefly my opinion of the key moments of the peace process. First, the talks must lead both Arabs and Israelis to a historic pledge that will help them leave behind all disputes and psychological, territorial, and national conflicts that separate them now. All of the countries and States in the Near East should be guaranteed the right and the possibility to live in peace and harmony within internationally recognized and safe borders.
"We cannot focus on anyone here, nor can we exclude anyone, neither Palestinian nor Israeli. The historic pledge between the Arabs and Israelis must contain a central idea and goal, a fundamental goal, which is a solution. The realization of this goal should be a beacon for our search and the core of future agreements regarding the establishment of a global, fair, and solid peace. This goal will be unattainable without mutually acceptable territorial agreements, as well as agreements on the core of the problem, which is the Palestinian issue. After all, there cannot be two opinions on the fact that resolution 242, which is the foundation of our conference, establishes the principle of exchanging territory for peace. This principle is applicable to all fronts: the West Bank, Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights. The return of these territories to their legitimate owners will make it possible to turn inter-State borders into bridges of communication and to overcome the obstacles to ending the war and establishing peace.
"Second, the process must end the tragedy that the Palestinian people, 4 million people, have endured for so many years. The Palestinian problem is the primary source of the disturbances that on more than one occasion have torn the region and made the entire planet tremble. It is understandable how the Palestinian problem has gradually increased with various layers of complex problems that cannot be eliminated all at once.
"The conference participants have problem once again that a solution must obviously undergo a transitional phase before a definitive agreement can be reached. There can be no doubt, however, that the Palestinians are entitled to self-determination, which is established in the UN Charter as a natural and inalienable right. Therefore, the negotiations should be conducted responsibly and with goodwill on both sides to determine how this right can be exercised, taking into consideration the specific situations on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. I believe the variables proposed by the peace process' co-sponsors have made it possible to find a realistic solution to this problem, taking both the Palestinians' and the Israelis' interests into consideration.
"Third, a dignified solution that is acceptable for everyone must be found about Jerusalem. The religious interests of the people - not only from the Near East but also from the rest of the world - are at stake here. I believe that it will take us quite some time to find a common denominator in these positions, and it will be necessary to show great tolerance and sensibility on this critical and sensitive topic. The eyes of every believer - Muslim, Jew, or Christian - are turned toward the sacred mosques, temples and synagogues, and we must treat their feelings with great care.
"Fourth, it is necessary to guarantee compliance with UN Security Council resolution 425 on Lebanon.
"Fifth, within this difficult movement toward the achievement of peace and security in the Near East, one cannot avoid solving the problem of implementing the cooperation of all parties in this region, because only the closely woven fabric of mutual understanding is capable of consolidating close relations and guaranteeing authentic security for each and every one.
"The process to achieve an agreement in the Near East has begun at a time when the level of mutual trust is, unfortunately, very low. The proportions of the problems we must overcome are also very big. Above all, I want to mention here the rash arms buildup. The Near East is sad testimony to an uncontrolled accumulation of deadly arsenals that deplete the States' material resources, encourage a dangerous warmongering attitude, and turn the whole region into a mine field. The last tragic example of this is the events that occurred in the Persian Gulf.
"In other words, the alarm has sounded and we are pleased with the fact that all the near East parties are more frequently thinking about practical measures that must be adopted to limit weapons levels in the region. There are many other common regional problems in the Near East that can only be overcome through joint efforts; and the Near East people know, better than anyone, the value of water. therefore, it is impossible to conserve water resources for future generations in a separate or isolated way.
"Likewise, we cannot ignore the terrorism problem that causes so much anguish to all Arab and Israeli families. The inhuman kidnapping of hostages is still a bomb that threatens the process to achieve a solution in the Near East.
"Ecological destruction is also a problem that knows on bounds. Let us recall that the threat of an ecological disaster during the Persian Gulf crisis surpassed that of the conflict.
"Furthermore, it is difficult to imagine the Near East's future without implementing broad and egalitarian economic cooperation. The divisions caused by mistrust, conflict, and confrontations in the region preclude its participation in overall efforts to develop the world economy; this should prompt the States to unite their efforts. All these problems must be solved at the negotiating table if we want enmity and mistrust replaced by a historic pledge between the Arabs and Israel. Perhaps this will later lead to the construction of a common house in the Near East.
"Ladies and gentlemen, our plenary sessions are about to end. The parties have stated their positions. We must now start direct talks and the drafting of bilateral and multilateral agreements to guarantee an overall agreement based on resolutions 242 and 338. Let us, therefore, be realistic. Our conference gives us, for the first time being, the possibility of achieving a solution. We must carefully handle this possibility and try to avoid excessive nationalism in the negotiation process - today and tomorrow.
"Therefore, I want to issue an appeal to the representatives of all the parties attending this event. They must show a much more constructive attitude and a willingness to bear in mind each other's worries and interests. That is the best way to find a mutually acceptable solution.
"Therefore, it is important to discuss specific topics in an organized way, through bilateral working groups. We are truly convinced that we can possibly start this in Madrid without disrupting the rhythm of our work.
"The diverse and complex character of the process makes it absolutely necessary to take one step at a time when discussing the problems concerning the organization of these multilateral talks. Now, like the very air we breathe, it is absolutely essential for the two parties to give testimony of their goodwill. One of the signs of goodwill toward the dialogue will undoubtedly be ceasing the creation of settlements in occupied zones. I believe that, in this case, the Arab countries could also take the necessary steps to reach a common ground.
"I wish to reassert that, as a co-sponsor, the Soviet Union is willing to cooperate actively to create a favourable atmosphere to achieve an agreement. I am sure that this will be favoured by the partnership established with the other co-sponsor, the United States, and with the trust given to the co-sponsors by all the participants in these meetings. If things continue like this, these three days in Madrid will go down in Near East history as a starting point of a new egalitarian period - the period of a strong and durable peace.
"In our opinion, this situation will allow us to guarantee the Near East people a future worthy of their great past and the role they have played in the history of world civilization. This region offered the world its first alphabet and the three universal religions; it has made great achievements in mathematics, astronomy, and medicine; and it has produced incalculable works of culture, architecture, and literature. This region has always been a crossroads in world commerce and it may now become the site of fruitful and broad international cooperation.
"Ladies and gentlemen, there is a beautiful symbolism and a good sign that this peace conference has convened in Spain, the country where Eastern and European civilizations met and harmoniously mingled. I consider it my duty to thank cordially the host country and the Spanish leaders - His Majesty King Juan Carlos, Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, and Foreign Minister Francisco Fernandez-Ordoñez - for offering us the opportunity to hold the conference here.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the book of Ecclesiastes says: 'There is a time to destroy and a time to build'. I am firmly convinced that the time of the builders has come to the Near East. Let us do what we can to pave the way for them. Thank you."
United States Secretary of State, James A. Baker
"Distinguished colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
"Over the last eight months, many people in the region have exerted great efforts and contributed in many ways to make this conference and negotiations possible. All of you in this hall fall into that category. But there are some who are not here now, individuals who have made essential contributions to the process, without which in my view this conference would not have happened. In this regard, I want to pay tribute:
· To President Mubarak of Egypt, who was a confidant, adviser, friend and advocate for this process from the very beginning.
· To King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, who demonstrated by word and deed that new opportunities for Arab-Israeli peace existed after the Gulf war, and who personified this new approach in the Arab world.
· To President Assad of Syria, whose assurance to me that Syria had made a historic choice and decision in favour of peace, and whose early commitment to this process, both proved to be vital.
· To King Hussein of Jordan, whose courage, leadership and willingness to commit publicly and quickly in support of this process transformed the dynamics in the region.
· To Prime Minister Shamir of Israel, whose steady determination and strong leadership proved essential in reaching agreement to convene this conference and to launch direct bilateral negotiations for real peace between Israel and its neighbours.
· To Foreign Minister Levy of Israel, who was determined to develop an active and meaningful peace process and who worked creatively to overcome obstacles in our path.
· To President Hraoui of Lebanon, who has worked to re-establish central authority in his war-ravaged country, which is a necessary step toward peace in the region.
· To Palestinians with whom I met, like Faisal Husseini and Hanan Ashrawi, whose personal courage in the face of enormous pressures have created the possibility of a better life for Palestinians.
"Even in a period of dramatic and far-reaching change around the world, this conference stands apart. Fourteen days ago, President Bush and President Gorbachev invited Israel, the Arab States and Palestinians to this peace conference and to direct negotiations that follow. In response to that invitation, Israel, Jordan, the Palestinians, Syria and Lebanon agreed to attend the conference and to participate in the direct negotiations. In addition, the European Community, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania agreed to participate in this process.
"This conference demonstrates vividly the end of the cold war and the flowering of US-Soviet partnership in resolving regional conflicts. Where we once competed, we now cooperate. Where there was once polarization, there is now coordination. What was once unthinkable - the United States and the Soviet Union co-sponsoring a process of peace in the Middle East - became a reality this week.
"Our work - making peace through negotiations - has just begun. As we look at the challenges ahead, it is worth noting and learning from what we have already accomplished.
For decades, agreement on whether to negotiate eluded the parties. This weekend, direct, bilateral negotiations aimed at comprehensive, genuine peace will start.
· For decades, agreement on what to negotiate eluded the parties. This weekend, negotiations should begin on the accepted basis of United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338.
· For decades, agreement on how to negotiate eluded the parties. This weekend, negotiations will begin on two tracks and in phases; and in a few weeks, those parties who wish to participate will convene to organize multilateral negotiations on a wide range of issues that affect the well being of all peoples in the region.
"These are not mere platitudes. During these eight months of diplomacy, though the parties sometimes fell back on old slogans and outmoded code words, they also came to understand the need to engage concretely and pragmatically to resolve problems. I said often that the parties would probably state out maximum positions, especially as they got closer to negotiations. This is not surprising, especially in a public forum. The key, however, is to get beyond the rhetoric and into the direct negotiations.
Fundamentals of American policy
"A basic tenet of American thinking is that negotiations are the best way to resolve disputes and achieve peace. Negotiations do not guarantee peace. But without negotiations, there is no way to produce genuine peace and no mechanism to develop understanding that can endure.
"The United States is willing to be a catalytic force, an energizing force, and a driving force in the negotiating process. Our involvement in this process will be rooted solidly in the core principle enunciated by President Bush last March. They will remain the cornerstone that guides our participation in the negotiating process.
"The US is and will be an honest broker. We have our own positions and views on the peace process, and we will not forego our right to state these. But, as an honest broker with experience -- successful experience -- in Middle East negotiations, we also know that our critical contribution will often be to exert quiet, behind the scenes influence and persuasion.
"Let no one mistake our role as an honest broker to mean that we will change longstanding US policy positions; and let no one mistake our policy positions as undercutting our determination to help the parties reach fair and mutually acceptable solutions to problems. As President Bush and I have both said this week, it is not our policies that matter; it is those of the parties. They are the ones that must negotiate peace.
"This week the parties provided insight into their thinking about a negotiated settlement. They outlined three broad requirements in the search for peace:
· First, we heard a yearning for peace -- the wish of peoples in the region to live in a mutually satisfying relationship with neighbours, a relationship characterized by peace treaties, economic relations, cultural ties, and political dialogue.
· Second, we heard an emphasis on land -- the desire of peoples in the region to exercise authority and political governance over territory they consider part of their national, political, historical or religious patrimony.
· Third, we heard a need for security -- the requirement of people to live free of fear, and the obligation of Governments to do their best to protect their citizens.
"What the parties in fact said this week is that these core issues -- land, peace and security -- are inseparable elements in the search for a comprehensive settlement.
"The parties have made clear that peace by itself is unachievable without a territorial solution and security; that a territorial solution by itself will not resolve the conflict without there also being peace and security; and that security by itself is impossible to achieve without a territorial solution and peace. The process on which we are embarked can work only if all issues are put on the table, and if all issues are satisfactorily resolved.
The negotiating process
"One key issue is the style of negotiations. Today, the Soviet Union and the United States are on the same side of the table -- literally and figuratively -- in striving for global peace and the resolution of regional conflicts. Today, and in the future, we will work together in pursuit of a Middle East settlement.
"The United States, at the highest levels, will remain intimately engaged in this process. We expect to be available to the parties throughout this process. The United States and the Soviet Union are prepared to participate directly in the negotiations themselves, with the consent of all parties.
"We will do our part. But we cannot do your part as well. The United States and the Soviet Union will provide encouragement, advice, recommendations, proposals, and views to help the peace process. Sometimes, you will be satisfied with our views, sometimes frustrated. Sometimes, we will support your positions and sometimes not. Sometimes we will act quietly and behind the scenes, and sometimes we will make known our views and positions in public. None of this, however, will relieve you -- the parties -- of the obligation of making peace. If you won't do it, we certainly can't. As I have said from the beginning of this effort, we cannot want peace more than you, the parties most directly affected by its absence.
"Parties in this process cannot reasonably be expected to operate outside their political environment; but they should be expected to educate, shape, guide, and lead politics and opinion. Leaders in the region have taken difficult and courageous decisions to get to this conference and to negotiations. More difficult and more courageous decisions will be required to settle this conflict.
Venue of bilaterals
"Let me say a word about the venue of the bilateral negotiations.
"As you know, the invitation sent to the parties on October 18 contained the terms of reference for this peace process, terms of reference that had been meticulously negotiated and agreed. This invitation specified that direct, bilateral negotiations would begin four days after the opening of the conference. But there was never agreement regarding the location for those bilateral negotiations.
"The parties have not yet been able to agree on where to hold these negotiations. It is the view of the co-sponsors that the direct, bilateral negotiations should start in Madrid as soon as possible. It is the intention of the co-sponsors to continue to consult with the parties with a view to fulfilling the requirements of the invitation on this subject.
"From the perspective of the co-sponsors, and indeed from the perspective of most of the rest of the world, it would be very difficult to understand how a party could now refuse to attend bilateral negotiations simply because of a disagreement over the site of those negotiations.
"Finally, I want to note that a meeting will take place in several weeks among those parties who wish to participate in multilateral negotiations to organize those negotiations. These talks will focus on issues of critical interest to many parties in the region. They will be a complement to the bilateral negotiations. I am pleased that the multilateral negotiations have already gained widespread support and interest both in and outside the Middle East.
Building confidence and trust
"This week, many have focused on the need for steps that would build confidence and trust. The United States continues to believe that confidence-building measures are important for the process and for the parties themselves.
"I want to be perfectly honest, standing here as I am before colleagues with whom I have spent many, many hours since last March. The unwillingness of the parties to take confidence-building steps has been disappointing. You have dealt successfully with formulas and positions. You have agreed on terms of reference that are fair and equitable. You have launched a process of negotiations that can succeed. But you have failed to deal adequately with the human dimension of the conflict.
"As I travelled through the region, I witnessed terrible scenes of human tragedy, suffering and despair. Innocent civilians caught in the crossfire of a conflict they wish would end. Refugees and displaced persons wandering across the vast expanses of time. Mothers and fathers, afraid of the future that awaits their children. And children, being schooled in the lessons of animosity and conflict, rather than friendship and accommodation.
"Formulas, terms of reference and negotiations are not enough. Support for a negotiating process will not be sustainable unless the human dimension is addressed by all parties. A way must be found to send signals of peace and reconciliation that affect the peoples of the region. Don't wait for the other side to start; each of you needs to get off the mark quickly. You should know best what is needed.
"Through negotiations and through these and other steps, you can demonstrate respect for the rights of others. You can express understanding of the fears of others. You can touch the people -- the women, men and children -- who are the victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict. We can only succeed at the table, if we find ways of reaching out to one another away from the table.
"The challenges have been great, and the obstacles have been many, on the road to peace. Your decisions over these eight months of intensive diplomacy have created a new baseline of realism and commitment to peace. This conference has been vital in breaking down the barriers of communication, and in establishing for all to see that Arab and Israeli leaders can meet face to face.
"In closing, let me speak to each of you personally and directly.
"For over four decades, the world waited for this week. Peace-loving peoples everywhere tried time and again to get you -- the makes of this intractable conflict -- to join together to discuss your differences. This week, here in Madrid, you finally have met and held such a meeting.
"This has been a start -- a good start -- a historic start that has broken old taboos -- an important start that opens further opportunities.
"But it is only a start -- and that's not enough. You must not let this start become an end.
"When you walk out of these doors, you carry with you great responsibilities. You carry with you the responsibility to your peoples to seek peace. You carry with you the responsibility to the world to build a comprehensive and just peace. You carry with you the responsibility to yourselves to break with the past and pursue a new future.
"For if you do not seize this historic opportunity, no one will blame anyone outside your region.
"You now should the destiny and challenge of making peace, as you enter direct negotiations with your neighbours. The continuation and success of this process is in your hands. The world still looks to each of you to make the choice for peace."
* For the list of delegates to the Conference, see annex.
* * *
1. Foreign Broadcast Information Service,
Daily Report: Near East and South Asia
, No. FBIS-NES-91-195, 8 October 1991, pp. 16-18.
2. Ibid., FBIS-NES-91-200, 16 October 1991, pp. 28, 31-34.
3. Ibid., FBIS-NES-91-203, 21 October 1991, p. 18.
4. As per text released on 19 October by the office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General.
5. Foreign Broadcast Information Service,
., FBIS-NES-91-207, 25 October 1991, p. 1.
6. As per text released on 29 October by the office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General.
7. Foreign Broadcast Information Service,
., FBIS-NES-91-210, 30 October 1991, pp. 11-12.
8. Press Release No. USUN 74-(91) dated 30 October 1991, issued by the United States Mission to the United Nations.
9. Press Release No. 109 dated 30 October 1991, issued by the Permanent Mission of the USSR to the United Nations.
10. Text of the statement distributed during the meeting held on 30 October 1991.
11. Text of the statement distributed during the meeting held on 31 October 1991.
12. Text of the statement distributed during the meeting held on 1 November 1991.
13. Foreign Broadcast Information Service,
., FBIS-NES-91-212, 1 November 1991, pp. 23-24.
14. Ibid., pp. 26-27.
15. Ibid., FBIS-NES-91-213, 4 November 1991, pp. 9-11.
The following is the list of of delegates to the conference (as per a document distributed by the co-sponsors on 29 October 1991):
Arab Maghreb Union
1. Secretary-General Mohamed Amamou, Chairman
2. Ambassador Abdelatif Mouline
1. H.E. Mr. H. van den Broek, Chairman (Netherlands)
2. A.P. van Walsum (Netherlands)
3. Abel Matutes (European Commission)
4. C. A. Soares Simoes Coelho (Portugal)
5. N. Archer (United Kingdom)
6. Thierry Muuls (Belgium)
7. A. Brandstrup (Denmark)
8. H.P. Kaul (Germany)
9. B. Bajolet (France)
10. E. Frangoulis (Greece)
11. Andres Collado (Spain)
12. K. Thomson (Ireland)
13. R. Vanni d'Archirafi (Italy)
14. R. Mayer (Luxembourg)
1. H.E. Amre Moussa, Chairman
2. Alaa Barakat
3. Mahmoud Abou el-Nasr
4. Ramzi el-Shaer
5. Younan Labib Rizk
6. Kadry Hifny
7. Salah Amer
8. Aly el-Din Helal
9. Ahmed Fakhr
10. Lotfy el-Kholy
11. Waguih Hamdy
12. Reda Shehata
13. Ahmed Abou el-Gheit
14. Nabil Fahmy
Gulf Cooperation Council
1. Abdalla Bishara, Head of Delegation
2. Prince Bandar bin Sultan
1. Prime Minister Itzhak Shamir, Chairman
2. Binyamin Netanyahu
3. Elyakim Rubinstein
4. Sarah Doron
5. Eliahu Ben-Elissar
6. Uzi Landau
7. Yossi Ben-Aharon
8. Yosef Hadas
9. Zalman Shoval
10. Shlomo Ben-Ami
11. Eitan Ben-Tsur
12. Salai Meridor
13. Yekutiel Mor
14. Asaad al-Asaad
1. Fares Boueiz, Head of Delegation
2. Zafir al-Hassan
3. Mahmoud Hammoud
4. Jihad Murtada
5. Abbas Hamiya
6. Samir Moubarak
7. Naji Abou Assi
8. Youssef Arsanious
9. Isabel Edde
10. Elias Haddad
11. Jean Daniel
12. Ghassan Salame
1. Kamel Abu Jaber
2. Abdel Salam Majali
3. Awad Khalidi
4. Talal al-Hassan
5. Mohammad Afrash al-Adwan
6. Fouad Ayoub
7. Mohammad Adnan Al Bakhet
8. Abdel Hafez Marie
9. Awon al-Khasawne
10. Gassan al-Jundi
11. Mohammad Bani Hani
12. Musa Berezat
13. Walid al-Khalidi
14. Anwar al-Khatib
1. Haidar Abdel Shafi, Head of Delegation
2. Mamduh al-Aker
3. Samih Kanaan
4. Sami al-Kilani
5. Samir Abdallah Saleh
6. Abdel Rahman Hammad
7. Zakaria al-Agha
8. Nabil Qassis
9. Nabil Jaabari
10. Mustafa al-Natsheh
11. Elias Freij
12. Ghassan al-Khatib
13. Saeb Erekat
14. Freih Abu Middein
Syrian Arab Republic
1. Farouk al-Sharaa, Chairman, Foreign Minister
2. Mowafaq al-Allaf (will take over as Head of Delegation for al-Sharaa
when direct talks convene)
3. Zacharia Ismail
4. Dia-Allah al-Fattal
5. Mnla Haidar Nazarat
6. Zuheir Akkad
7. Muhammad Khodr
8. Walid Mu'allem
9. Mohammad Najdi al-Jazzar
10. Ahmad Fathi Masri
11. Saber Falhowt
12. Adnan Tayyara
13. Ahmad Arnous
1. Ambassador Edouard Brunner, Chairman
2. Lisa Buttenheim