Question of Palestine home
Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
1 March 1993
OF THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT
AND THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
Issue 21 - February 1993
Note . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ii
The issue of Palestinian deportees and the Arab-Israeli peace negotiations
Excerpts from opening statement by the United States Secretary
of State at a news conference at the Permanent Mission of the
United States to the United Nations, New York, 1 February 1993
. . . . . . . 1
Text of a statement by President Clinton,
Washington, D.C., 3 February 1993
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Extracts from an address by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin before the Knesset,
Jerusalem, 3 February 1993
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Remarks by the official spokesperson of the Palestinian delegation to the
Arab-Israeli peace negotiations, Jerusalem, 9 February 1993
. . . . . . . . 6
Joint remarks by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Israel and
the United States Secretary of State, Jerusalem, 22 February 1993
. . . . . 6
Excerpts from opening statements at a joint news conference by the
Prime Minister of Israel and the United States Secretary of State,
Jerusalem, 24 February 1993
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Text of a joint United States-Russian Federation statement
on the Middle East, Geneva, 25 February 1993
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Remarks by the United States Secretary of State and the Minister for
Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation concerning the ninth round
of the Arab-Israeli peace negotiations, Geneva, 25 January 1993
. . . . . . 10
New York, March 1993
- ii -
Since April 1991, at the request of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat has prepared on a monthly basis a compilation of relevant statements, declarations, documents or other material regarding the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the question of Palestine and the convening of an international peace conference on the Middle East for the use of the Committee members and observers. The present issue covers the month of February 1993.
Reproduced herein are only those parts of the statements, declarations, documents or other material, quoted or summarized, which relate to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the question of Palestine.
The issue of Palestinian deportees and the Arab-Israeli peace negotiations
Excerpts from opening statement by the United States Secretary of State
at a news conference at the Permanent Mission of the United States
to the United Nations, New York, 1 February 1993
On 1 February 1993, in New York, the United States Secretary of State Mr. Warren Christopher, at a news conference held at the Permanent Mission of the United States to the United Nations, explained the position of the United States Administration on the issue of Palestinian deportees. He said,
"I have come here on my first trip outside Washington as Secretary of State, taking an early opportunity to confer personally with the Secretary-General of the United Nations [Boutros Boutros-Ghali].
"I came here at this early juncture to underscore my support for the role of the United Nations at this critical time, and at this time as we enter the post-Cold War era.
"We're very grateful to the Secretary-General for his determined efforts to guide the United Nations into this new period. He's really an extraordinary Secretary-General, and I look forward to working with him during my tenure.
"I'm also pleased to be here on the occasion of Ambassador Madeleine Albright's first day here at the United Nations. She's an outstanding American who's a long-time friend of mine and a close adviser to President Clinton. His regard for her is such that he has named her to be a member of his Cabinet and has asked that she come to Washington for all of the critical meetings on the United Nations matters which, I must say, include virtually all matters these days. She'll be a superb UN Ambassador, and I look forward to working closely with her during her tenure.
"We've had a very constructive day here at the United Nations. I want to express my admiration for the Secretary-General's efforts to come to grips with the pressures placed on the United Nations and its expanding role in the world.
"As the largest contributor to the United Nations, the United States will play an aggressive and strong role in connection with UN affairs.
"Now, I do have a specific announcement that I'd like to make with respect to the deportation issue, a matter that I discussed at some length with the Secretary-General this afternoon.
"President Clinton and I are pleased to announce that based upon intensive efforts and consultations over the last several days, there has been a breakthrough in our efforts with respect to the deportation issue.
"Under the terms of the process that Israel has announced today, Israel will permit a significant number of the deportees to return either to Israel or to the occupied territories within the next several days.
"Israel also will reduce the sentences of all other deportees, and, as a matter of arithmetic, this means that all the deportees will be able to return before the end of this calendar year.
"Israel also will maintain an appeals and review process for the deportees, which means that some of them may be returned even before the end of the calendar year.
"And, finally - and this is important to us - the process that Israel is announcing assures the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the deportees where they are at the present time.
"The United States believes that this process, which is being announced by Israel today, is consistent with UN [Security Council] resolution 799 on the deportees. As a consequence of the steps that Israel will take, we believe that further action by the Security Council is unnecessary and could even undercut the process, which is already under way.
"The United States will consult further with the Secretary-General about this matter, but, I repeat, we believe that further steps here in the Security Council are unnecessary, and that taking of further steps might undercut the process which is under way and which we think is very important.
"With the steps announced today, the United States believes it's time to look ahead and to concentrate our efforts on invigorating and restarting the Arab-Israeli peace negotiations. We reiterate our commitment to this negotiating process, and we hope to help bring the negotiations to fruition.
"The United States and Russia as co-sponsors will be conferring on these matters shortly in an attempt to help bring the parties back to the table. The peace negotiations offer the only real opportunity to address the underlying problems that give rise to the tension, violence and confrontations among the Arabs, Israelis, and the Palestinians.
"...I want to emphasize ... that we believe that the peace negotiations are the only practical avenue by which we can attain the kind of peace and tranquility which has been so long denied to the people of this region."
Text of a statement by President Clinton,
Washington, D.C., 3 February 1993
On 3 February 1993, at Washington, D.C., the following statement by President Clinton was released by the Office of the Press Secretary at the White House:
"In accord with my pledge to maintain continuity in the Arab-Israeli peace negotiations, I have decided to dispatch Secretary of State Christopher to the Middle East. His purpose will be to convey to all the parties my commitment to advance the peace negotiations. He will elicit their views on how best to promote progress, and he will discuss bilateral issues and regional problems, including Iraq.
"This will be Secretary Christopher's first mission abroad. It is an indication of the priority my Administration attaches to peacemaking in the Middle East. It also presents an opportunity for the parties to focus their energies on the formidable challenge of achieving peace in a strife-torn region.
"With violence engulfing so much of the world, it is striking that in the Middle East a process of direct negotiations has begun. Israel, all its Arab neighbours, and the Palestinians have been engaged in a common endeavour to achieve a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace based on UN Security Council resolution 242 and 338.
"The United States, together with our Russian co-sponsor, played a critical role in launching these negotiations. It is my intention to see that we continue that role.
"We cannot impose a solution in the Middle East. Only the leaders of the region can make peace. Theirs is an awesome responsibility. Those who oppose the process, who seek to subvert it through violence and intimidation, will find no tolerance here for their methods. But those who are willing to make peace will find in me and my Administration a full partner. This is a historic moment. It can slip away all too easily. But if we seize the opportunity, we can begin now to construct a peaceful Middle East for future generations."
Extracts from an address by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
before the Knesset,
Jerusalem, 3 February 1993
On 3 February 1993, speaking before the Knesset, Prime Minister of Israel Yitzhak Rabin explained his Government's position concerning the deportation, in December 1992, of Palestinian civilians and the subsequent discussion of the issue with the United States Administration. Mr. Rabin stated the following,
"Honourable Knesset Speaker, Knesset Members [MKs]: I have heard the recent and occasional caustic statements which have no foundation in reality. I was surprised by the identity of views between MKs [Joshua] Matza [Likud] and [Tamar] Gozansky [Progressive List for Peace and Equality], who both categorically opposed the deportations and the latest decision. I am really full of admiration for this shared viewpoint.
"I believe that the Government made two correct decisions, with which I am at peace, because they are compatible with the policy of this Government. This Government's political-security policy rests on three elements: The first element is the desire to promote the peace negotiations and, while adhering to the Madrid formula, to imbue them with more meaning than the Likud ever intended. We have already acknowledged and continue to assert that peace with the neighbouring Arab countries and with the Palestinians in the territories will demand compromises; however, these compromises - not the all-out concessions made by the Likud, but rather compromise - must come from both sides. The second element is the safeguarding of national security and, to the extent possible, the personal security of both Israeli citizens and the Palestinians living in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip. The third element is the attainment of as much understanding as possible with the United States, in order to promote the making of peace.
"Tell me: Who organized the Madrid conference? The United States. It goes without saying that the previous Government also had to reach compromises with Washington in order to make that possible. They either forgot what an international conference looks like or forgot their opposition to it. So now it is called a Middle East peace conference...
"The war against terrorism will continue concurrently with the peace negotiations. This Government has declared that it will combat terrorism but, at the same time, will continue the negotiations. We shall pursue the peace negotiations while fighting terrorism. We have never seen any contradiction in taking simultaneous action on both these levels. Over the past 18 months, there has been an increase in terrorist activity, especially by the radical Islamic organizations such as Hamas [Islamic Resistance Movement] and the Islamic Jihad. All the Palestinian terror organizations are involved in terrorist activity, and the war against terrorism is against the phenomenon as such, regardless of which organization stands behind it. Over the past nine months, the radical Islamic elements - mainly Hamas but also the Islamic Jihad - have stepped up their murderous terrorist activities which, beyond the terror act in itself, which is a common denominator of many Palestinian terrorist organizations, were also designed not only to murder Israelis - both Jewish and non-Jewish - and not only to murder Palestinians but to kill the chances of peace and to sabotage the peace negotiations. That is why, at a certain stage and as part of its battle against terrorism - especially against that brand of terrorism which has a double aim: both to simply perpetrate terrorist attacks and also to destroy the peace negotiations - the Government decided to take a significant and unprecedented step in the war against terrorism, a step that would be implemented immediately and constitute a severe blow to the radical Islamic terrorist organizations.
"This was done through the arrest and the temporary removal - and the legal terminology does not matter here - of over 1,000 activists, and I would like to stress that the Government decreed that this would be a temporary removal when it gave the military commanders of the Central and Southern Commands the final say regarding the duration of the removal period - anything between nine months and two years - and refrained from intervening in their conclusions regarding the duration of the removal orders which were individually prepared for each of the deportees. This combination of steps - the arrests and especially what is described as deportation but is actually only a temporary removal - dealt a severe blow to Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. Despite this severe blow, these organizations have not been eliminated. We have all learned that the war against terrorism will be long and protracted. The solution to this problem can only be found on the political level and especially against those terrorist organizations who employ murder merely as a tool by which to achieve their primary political objective: putting a halt to the peace negotiations. The blow we dealt them was so severe that emissaries came from the United States and elsewhere to help them recover.
"I believe that this decision was correct. In the past 20 years, no Israeli Government has dared to make such an extraordinary decision. True, due to circumstances beyond our control and which I will not discuss in detail - and I will not claim that these circumstances were not to be expected - the temporary removal was delayed, thus enabling the Lebanese Government to take preemptive action. I believe, however, that in any case, had they not been stopped at the site where they are concentrated now, they still would have set up a camp together somewhere else in Lebanon, and this aspect of the matter does not surprise me. It was to be expected and was also taken into account.
"Second, the Government's decision had to be put to the test of the Israeli legal system. We knew that this type of government activity would be put to the test of the High Court of Justice. We hoped and wanted, and I read in one of the papers that we knew; we did not know anything. When the Israeli High Court of Justice reaches a decision, it is kept secret and certainly is not revealed to anyone before the court's verdict or ruling is read, and any whispered allegations that anything was known in advance are baseless lies. I am astounded that anyone can even think for one instant that any of the High Court justices would dare to even contemplate divulging matters pertaining to the court's work.
"The third test came on the international level, and I do not think that anyone in the Cabinet entertained any illusions regarding the position of the international community and the United Nations. When, as defense minister in the national unity Government, I proposed and implemented the deportation of agitators, we were roundly condemned for each deportation. The US ambassador showed up at the Defence Ministry; there were protests. Did we not know this? We did. We knew that we would have to deal with this aspect. There are different ways to cope with things...
"I have heard all the speeches and catcalls about the Government's surrender, capitulation - call it whatever you like. For some reason, the Arab world takes a different view of this. For some reason, many in the international community see things differently. I understand that you are upset; I understand. Perhaps you, however, will manage to convince them. That would make me very happy, because then they will accept our proposal. Whatever happens, even if the deportation period of the 300 remaining deportees is shortened, the principle of deporting instigators, leaders, and organizers for a definite period of time has been upheld, which is something you never managed to do.
"Therefore, since the third element in my political philosophy is to establish an understanding and dialogue with the United States, particularly with the advent of a new Administration, and to try to also comprehend the difficulties it faces, I decided to reach a compromise, and the Cabinet later endorsed my decision. I personally bear full responsibility for both the original decision and the subsequent compromise. Therefore, we agreed on a compromise that maintained the principle of deportation with regard to most of the deportees. The deportations were for a limited period from the very beginning and were carried out so that the precedent and the subsequent sense of shock would continue to deter Hamas, as well as others.
"I agreed to the return of approximately 100 of the deportees. The second thing I agreed to was to cut the deportation periods by half. The third thing is the commitment we made, both in light of the High Court of Justice's verdict and as stipulated in the communiqué issued by the Government following that ruling, that if appeals are submitted to the advisory committees in accordance with Israeli law, these committees will do their job. We promised - and this promise is included in the High Court ruling - to set up a review committee whose recommendations, depending on their nature, might also lead to the release of a few additional individuals; I do not know. This was our commitment to the High Court of Justice. We also promised to do everything in our power to let the International [Committee of the] Red Cross reach the deportees by helicopter - not by an overland route; no Beirut-style convoys or people on foot - to extend medical aid and supply some other things if necessary.
"This is based on an understanding with the United States that this is an arrangement whose conditions will remain valid until the end of the process which will last one year. It is binding on both sides. There will be no salami tactics. This is a closed deal. The United States has undertaken to prevent operative resolutions against Israel in international forums, to make an effort to resume the peace negotiations, and to try to find host countries for the remaining 300-odd deportees if they accept the compromise. The United States told us it considers this deal a fulfillment of UN [Security Council] resolution 799 with a different timetable. We told them that we would make our position known. After all, we declared in advance that the deportations were for a maximum of two years; we never said that this time, it is deportation for good. The principle that these deportations are not permanent was already established in the Government's original decision.
"I am sure that both decisions were correct. The decision to temporarily remove the deportees, together with other moves, dealt a severe blow to the extremist Islamic terrorist organizations, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, whose only aim is to harm the peace negotiations. The other decision created the basis for an understanding with America over an issue it has always opposed in principle, but has accepted in reality. The compromise was aimed at ending the affair. You heard the secretary of state... I said the United States never accepted the principle of expulsion. I said it here just now; you did not hear me. The United States says: We view the arrangement - the spreading of the terms, the numbers - as fulfillment of resolution 799. We told the United States: You may say that, but we insist on our position. We insist that it is a comprehensive agreement made up of one which I suggested and another part put forth by the Americans. It is a compromise.
"The two decisions are a blow to terrorism and the opening for a chance to renew the peace negotiations on the basis of an understanding with the United States. Therefore, the overall picture in the wake of these two decisions is that terror has been dealt a blow and that chances have been created for the resumption of the peace negotiations based on an understanding with the United States. Both decisions are correct and complement rather than contradict each other, because they combine all three elements: promoting the peace negotiations, effectively fighting terror, and creating an understanding with the United States in hopes of resuming the peace process. Those are the points, I stand full behind what has been done, I believe they were the right thing to do, and the future will prove we were right. I do not want to get into an argument over whether to dismiss motions on this issue or not. I suggest we transfer all the motions to the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee."
Remarks by the official spokesperson of the Palestinian delegation
to the Arab-Israeli peace negotiations,
Jerusalem, 9 February 1993
In an interview with a
correspondent, broadcast in Jerusalem, on 9 February 1993, Mrs. Hanan Ashrawi, official spokesperson of the Palestinian delegation to the Arab-Israeli peace negotiations, said the following regarding the attendance by the delegation of the ninth round of the negotiations:
"We have informed the State Department and the US National Security Council that the Palestinian position remains unchanged and insists on the need to implement [UN Security Council] resolution 799, and not in finding means to employ tricks or give legitimacy to the deportations. We demanded a return to the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution ensuring the implementation of resolution 799."
In response to a question on the delegation's view of the bilateral and the multilateral negotiations following its contacts with US Administration officials, Mrs. Ashrawi stated:
"We believe the bilateral and multilateral talks are part of a single, comprehensive process. Therefore, what applies to one applies to the other. We also believe that the defects associated with that process throughout the negotiations have to be adjusted. In my opinion, these meetings may help locate the faults and weaknesses and overcome them, so that if we reach a point from which the talks can be resumed - after resolution 799 is applied - we can resume them on a more positive and constructive basis."
Joint remarks by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Israel
and the United States Secretary of State,
Jerusalem, 22 February 1993
On 22 February 1993, at Jerusalem, the following remarks were made by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Israel Mr. Shimon Peres and the United States Secretary of State Mr. Warren Christopher, upon Mr. Christopher's arrival in Israel, as released by the United States Information Service:
"Secretary Christopher, I would like to welcome you here in our country as a cherished guest, representing a mission of the utmost importance for us, for the region, for peace. We know that you are representing an Administration that has raised the hopes of the whole of the free world, that has started anew the process of peace, and we do hope that is the first step in the renewal of the peace negotiations - something that we are awaiting anxiously, with great expectation. We welcome you here with great respect, hope, and friendship. You know how dear the relations between the United States and Israel are to all of us, and I am sure that you will represent it with great devotion and talent. Welcome to Israel."
"Thank you, Mr. Foreign Minister. It is a great honour to be welcomed by the distinguished Foreign Minister who has a worldwide reputation as a person who has sought peace for most of his adult life and someone who has great respect in my country. Thank you ever so much for the honour you have served me by being out to welcome me.
"It is a great pleasure to visit Israel on my first trip abroad as Secretary of State. I have much to learn about this ancient land and this modern State. I hope to use this opportunity to begin to know and see Israel and its people. I want to gain a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities that you face. As I arrive in Israel this evening, there are several things about which President Clinton and I are very certain.
"First, the relationship between the United States and Israel is a special relationship for special reasons. It is based upon shared interests, shared values, and a shared commitment to democracy, pluralism, and respect for the individual. The ties between our two countries have proved strong and resilient, and President Clinton is determined to make them even stronger and more resilient.
"Second, I know that to understand Israel - Israel's present and its future - it is essential to understand Israel's past. History has cast a long shadow over the people of this Jewish State. The Israeli people have had to fight war and terrorism to defend the State. I understand this struggle for survival. That's why the United States is unalterably committed to Israel's security. That commitment will not change.
"Third, real security can only be brought about by real peace. But we also know that peace won't be possible unless Israel is fully secure. The Israeli people want peace - not just peace meaning the absence of war, but peace reflected in lasting treaties, normalized relationships, and real reconciliation.
"It is with this in mind that President Clinton has sent me to this region to assess, to consult, and to focus the parties - all the parties -on the importance of resuming negotiations at the very earliest date. So I am very much looking forward to my meetings with Prime Minister Rabin, with Foreign Minister Peres, and later with the Palestinians.
"As in the period before Madrid, and now with the help of the United States as a full partner, the parties can build on the substance of structure of real peace through direct negotiations. Working together, the United States, Israel, and the Arab and the Palestinian negotiating parties can turn this process into one of real breakthroughs and achievements rather than missed opportunities."
Excerpts from opening statements at a joint news conference by the
Prime Minister of Israel
and the United States Secretary of State,
Jerusalem, 24 February 1993
On 24 February 1993, at Jerusalem, during a joint news conference, the Prime Minister of Israel Mr. Yitzhak Rabin and the United States Secretary of State Mr. Warren Christopher made the following statements, as released by the United States Information Service:
Prime Minister Rabin
"The Secretary of State of the United States, his colleagues, ladies and gentlemen of the media. We more than appreciate the decision of President Clinton and the Secretary of State to have the first visit of the Secretary of State after President Clinton took the office of the President of the United States to come to the Middle East with the purpose to bring about the resumption of the peace negotiations.
"I believe that the visit of the Secretary of State, the discussions, the talks that were held now in Israel, no doubt will serve as a landmark in the relationship between our two countries, in the efforts to invigorate the peace negotiations and to bring their resumption. I believe that during the visit of the Secretary of State here in Israel, I had the opportunity and the pleasure to have talks, deep to the issues, and I hope that ... we succeeded to establish special relations - relations of friendship, understanding, and [candor].
"I believe that in the talks that were held here, we discussed a variety of issues: first and foremost, what has to be done to bring about the resumption of the peace negotiations, how to make sure that once they will be resumed, they lead in 1993 to results - results that I believe all the peoples, all the countries of this region expect them to achieve. It is to say to have a breakthrough that will lead to peace between Israel and its neighbouring countries and the Palestinians.
"I hope and I believe that the visit of the Secretary of State, not only to Israel but also to the other capitals of the Arab countries that are directly involved in the peace negotiations ... will create a new atmosphere that will be conducive to bring about more meaningful peace negotiations. We have discussed at length the special relations between the United States and Israel, and there's no doubt in my mind that these relations will be developed and strengthened in the interest of the two countries. And no doubt, this development will bring about and will facilitate many things that we, together, try to achieve in this region.
"Mr. Secretary, thank you very much for your patience, your readiness to listen, to travel, to see. I believe that we put on you quite a burden of work during the two days that you stay[ed] in Israel. Allow me through you to send my thanks and congratulations to President Clinton about his decision to give such a high priority to solve the difficulties that prevent[ed] until now the achievement of the peace negotiations. Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary."
"Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for those very warm words. I've just concluded the last of my meetings here in Jerusalem, and let me say I've tremendously enjoyed my stay here. The detailed discussions that I've had with the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, and their colleagues were serious and productive and very helpful to me. I've had three separate meetings with the Prime Minister, and he and his wife were gracious enough to host me and my delegation last night for dinner. And all in all, it was a splendid time for me.
"Over these last 3 days, we have strengthened and deepened the special relationship between our two nations. On a personal note, as the Prime Minister so generously said, I am pleased that we've developed a close and personal relationship. I know that President Clinton is looking forward to greeting Prime Minister Rabin in Washington in the very near future and looking forward to that development of a similar relationship. The relationship that the Prime Minister and I have established is symbolic of the friendship between our two nations - a friendship that's based upon deep and enduring interest, shared values, and common interests. My stay here was all too short, but it did give me an opportunity to learn just a little bit about the rich history of this ancient land and to feel a sense of the dynamism of the modern, vibrant democracy.
"In my visit to Yad Vashem, I was reminded again of the extraordinary uniqueness of the Jewish State. And this morning in my visit to northern Israel, I was again reminded that the Jewish State continues to face very substantial security challenges. It's high time for Israel to be able to enjoy the acceptance of its neighbours in the security that comes from having a just and lasting peace. I know that the people of Israel yearn for that day, and I know that the Israeli Government is doing all that [it] can to achieve it.
"After visiting with the leaders of the significant parties to the negotiations, I have a very real sense that all the parties want the negotiations to succeed. They want them to resume and succeed at an early date, and they agree that they should redouble their efforts to that end. I've also had in the last 2 days serious and thoughtful discussions with the Palestinians. The Palestinian representatives with whom I spoke emphasized their commitment to seek peace with Israel, and they expressed their understanding of the stake that they have in seeking that peace. I leave the Middle East hopeful but cognizant that there still are obstacles - obstacles that will have to be overcome. But I sense among all the parties that they want to seek and make peace. If that translates into an early resumption of the peace talks, as I hope it will be, the United States stands ready to be a full partner. Before I left Washington, I said that I was coming to the region to learn, to find the facts, to get to know the leaders in this area. I have accomplished far more in that sense than I'd expected, and I've had substantive discussions far deeper than I'd anticipated.
"This is a region that has known too much war and too much violence in its past. The parties are at a historic crossroad. This is an opportunity which I hope all the parties will embrace, and we'll do our part to help them in that regard. Thank you very much."
Text of a joint United States-Russian Federation
statement on the Middle East,
Geneva, 25 February 1993
The following is the text of a joint United States-Russian Federation statement on the Middle East, as released by the Office of the Assistant Secretary/Spokesman:
"The United States and Russia attach the utmost importance to the Arab-Israeli peace process launched at Madrid and the need for the parties to resume negotiations promptly. In intensive conversations with the co-sponsors, the Israelis, Arabs, and the Palestinians have reaffirmed their strong commitment to the peace process and emphasized their determination to resume the negotiations in the near future. The Russian side notes the positive effect of Secretary Christopher's visit to the region. The co-sponsors are convinced that at this point all sides must take additional steps to realize a[n] historic opportunity to make progress toward a comprehensive, just, and lasting Arab-Israeli peace settlement based on UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338. Russia and the United States agree to intensity their role as honest brokers in the negotiations to promote forward movement in the peace process. Accordingly, the co-sponsors will soon extend invitations to the ninth round of negotiations to be held in Washington during the month of April."
Remarks by the United States Secretary of State and
the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
concerning the ninth round of the Arab-Israeli peace negotiations,
Geneva, 25 February 1993
On 25 February 1993, at Geneva, during a joint press conference, the following remarks concerning the resumption of the bilateral Arab-Israeli negotiations were made by the United States Secretary of State Mr. Warren Christopher and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Mr. Andrei Kozyrev:
"The United States and Russia have important interests in common. Today, as Minister [for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Andrei] Kozyrev and I prepared the ground for the summit, we discussed a full range of these common interests. I gave Minister Kozyrev a thumb-nail sketch of my trip to seven Middle East countries, and we discussed the respective consultations that I've had with the parties in those countries. It is an important beginning for our relationship, a very hopeful reflection on what the partnership may mean that Mr. Kozyrev and I today are able to jointly announce that we will be extending invitations for the ninth round of the bilateral Arab-Israeli negotiations, to be held in Washington during the month of April.
"Well, first and perhaps most obvious, what has happened between last night and today is that I've had an opportunity to meet with Minister Kozyrev and give him a report on my consultations in the seven Middle Eastern countries. Of course he had been keeping up with me as I followed along. But until then it was not appropriate for me to indicate that we could set a date as being sometime in April. We haven't set a specific date. But, I think that is probably the most important thing. We are co-sponsors. We are working closely together on this. We are consulting closely together. We need each other's cooperation and support. So it would have been quite improper, I think, for me to have tried to go ahead last night.
"On the second part of the question: we've been consulting closely with the Palestinians. Last night and again this morning. All I can say at the present time is that we felt confident enough about the situation to have indicated that we think the next round of these negotiations should commence in April. I might also say, as I've said before, that at every country that I went to in the Middle East there was a strong indication that these negotiations should resume in the interest of peace. And that is a very strong motivating factor. We are continuing to work on the problem, but we felt there were enough positive signs to make the statement that I've made today. And, incidentally, we'll have a somewhat longer statement that we'll pass out to you on the subject, that you can get from our assistants.
"Well, with respect to the announcement on the re-commencement on the talks in April, we're simply putting that forward as our best judgement as to when the parties would like to recommence these negotiations. This is based upon my best estimate of the situation after having concentrated on it over the last eight days. As I said, I think the very strong consensus in the Middle East is that the parties want to return to these negotiations. This is a historic moment. I've been surprised by the number of people who have told me that, the number of leaders of countries who have told me that in the Middle East. They think this may be a one-time opportunity for peace and I think they will all want to grasp the moment. And, it is in that context that this statement was made, rather than trying to force anyone's hand."
"Well, I would suggest that you read carefully the text of the joint statement of the two sides on the Middle East and the impression that can be gained from the discussions that we had is that there has indeed been a very significant movement, including in the direction of an acceptable resolution of the deportation problem. We intend to continue our work and in the next few days in Moscow we'll have a meeting with the Palestinians. We invited them to come to Moscow. So it would serve a common interest if we continue to move along the path of peace process, and I believe that as we continue that work, we would be able to fix a specific date."
* * *
United States Department of State Dispatch
, February 15, 1993, Vol. 4, No. 7, p. 83.
., February 8, 1993, Vol. 4, No. 6, p. 74.
3. Foreign Broadcast Information Service,
Daily Report: Near East & South Asia
, No. FBIS-NES-93-023, 5 February 1993, pp. 21-23.
., FBIS-NES-93-026, 10 February 1993, p. 3.
United States Department of State Dispatch
, March 1, 1993, Vol. 4, No. 9, p. 123.
., pp. 122-123.
., p. 122.
8. United States Department of State, Office of the Assistant Secretary/Spokesman, press release, 25 February 1993, Geneva, Switzerland.