Monday, October 26, 1998


The future can be bright for Israelis and Palestinians if they maintain the will for peace. If we continue to work together, the next generation will grow up without fear. Israel can have the genuine security and recognition it has sought for so long. The Palestinian people can, at long last, realize their aspirations to live free, in safety, in charge of their own destiny.

-- President Bill Clinton

On Friday, after nine days of negotiations at the Wye Conference Center in Maryland, President Clinton welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat to the White House to sign an agreement that will strengthen Israeli security, expand the area of Palestinian control in the West Bank, and enhance opportunities for the Israeli and Palestinian people. This agreement continues the progress made toward bringing a lasting peace to the Middle East.

Presidential Support Helped Broker This Important Agreement. President Clinton has been deeply involved in peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians since the Oslo Accords in 1993, which set a timetable for negotiations between the two parties to settle outstanding issues. President Clinton invested an enormous amount of time and energy over the past two weeks to ensure that the negotiations at the Wye Conference Center would result in an agreement to resolve divisive interim issues and move on to final settlement talks. This round of negotiations began at the President's urging and reflects the President's ongoing role as mediator and catalyst in the peace process.

A Comprehensive Agreement That Meets The Concerns Of Both Parties. The agreement reached by the Israelis and Palestinians meets both security and land concerns expressed by both parties. This agreement includes the following provisions:

A Continuing Commitment To Achieving A Lasting Peace In The Middle East. With the signing of this interim agreement, the parties can now focus on the remaining issues that need to be resolved to ensure full implementation of the Oslo Accords. Permanent status talks will begin shortly to address these issues and the President has agreed to convene both leaders at an appropriate time to facilitate these talks. The President has accepted an invitation to address members of the Palestinian National Council and other important political entities to reaffirm America's commitment and support for the peace process. The President is also calling on Congress to support this endeavor through aid to Israel as it redeploys its forces, and to Palestinians to accelerate their economic development. As these negotiations continue, President Clinton remains steadfast in his determination to see this process through, to help ensure a secure, just, and lasting peace, for the sake of Israelis and Palestinians alike, for their children and generations to come.

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