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Public Papers - 1992 - December

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on the Middle East Peace Talks

1992-12-17

The President met today with Lebanese, Syrian, Jordanian-Palestinian, and Israeli delegations involved in the bilateral negotiations of the Middle East peace process. He did so to emphasize the continuing value of the process begun in Madrid, one that aims at a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace based on United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

The President commended the parties for their sustained commitment to this process and for the progress they have achieved. It is significant that all of the parties have engaged seriously on the key issues of land, peace, and security. Substantial achievements are within reach if the parties make additional efforts to address the legitimate concerns of their negotiating partners.

The actions and statements of the parties away from the table are no less important than the negotiations themselves. Both Arabs and Israelis need to elaborate their visions of peace. This will build public support for the negotiating process. They also need to form a concerted voice calling for an end to all forms of violence and avoid reactions such as deportations that risk complicating the search for peace.

Peace between Israel and its neighbors has never been more achievable. A way has been created whereby the people of the Middle East can escape the wars that have too often defined the region's history. Making peace a reality through these negotiations is the only way to frustrate those who would sabotage the peace process by violence.

The U.S. role as catalyst, honest broker, and driving force was instrumental in achieving the historic breakthrough at Madrid. The United States remains an essential participant in the search for peace, willing to assist actively in making the negotiations succeed.

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