Statements at the Signing of the Wye Memorandum
The White House, Washington D.C.
October 23, 1998
SEC. ALBRJGHT: Mr. President, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Chairman Arafat, Vice President Gore, King Hussein, diplomatic colleagues, distinguished guests, and friends of the Middle East. We meet this afternoon to mark not a conclusion but rather a new chapter in the pursuit of permanent peace with security and justice in the Middle East.
I begin by expressing my admiration for the effort to reach an agreement that was made by both the Israeli and Palestinian leaders and their delegations. The issues considered this week were difficult and complex, but in the end, both sides made the hard choices required to move the process forward. In so doing, they demonstrated leadership, courage and vision.
I express my heartfelt appreciation for the contributions made by His Majesty King Hussein of Jordan. His passion for peace inspired us all to believe that with sufficient faith and unyielding will, the seemingly unattainable would prove within our grasp.
I would like to thank the vice president for his most helpful participation in our discussions and the CIA director, George Tenet, for his critical assistance at a number of key points. And most of all, I congratulate President Clinton, who has given new meaning to the term " shuttle diplomacy. " This agreement would not have been reached without his incredible persistence and determination. From the outset, he put America squarely on the side of peace and cleared the path so that both sides could join us there.
Today's ceremony culminates almost a year and a half of efforts to restore confidence and forward movement to the peace process. It ends a dangerous impasse that has eroded trust and stalled progress towards a broader peace. The United States hopes that the implementation of this agreement will spur forward movement on the other tracks of the peace process and lead to improved relations between Israel and all her Arab neighbors.
Today's agreement is an important way station on the upward path towards peace. It proves again that progress is the product of negotiation, while the alternatives of extremism and violence yield only more stalemate, suffering, and grief
If we're to continue forward, the parties must rise to the challenge of implementing their commitments. They must work together to resolve differences and prevent new misunderstandings. And they must act in the spirit of peace embodied so vividly at Wye this week by the courage of Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chairman Arafat, the persuasiveness of President Clinton, the wisdom of King Hussein, the good sense and good nature of Sandy Berger, and the patience and skill of Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk, Aaron Miller, Gemal Halal ( sp ), Toni Verstandig, and Jonathan Schwartz.
And now I am pleased to introduce someone who has had a passion for Middle East peace and security for a long time, and will for a long time in the future. He has been a major contributor to today's success -- the vice president of the United States, Al Gore.