The Briefing Room
4:47 P.M. EDT
MS. MYERS: The following is a BACKGROUND BRIEFING. It is [Names Deleted].
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I'll just offer a couple of comments, and then I think my colleague will also offer a couple of comments, and then we'll turn it over to your questions.
I think the way I would describe today, from the perspective of someone who has worked in this process for a long time, is that it really allowed us to follow up on two tracks that we said we would: One is that we are committed to following up on the implementation of the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles. And we knew to be able to do that, we had to mobilize the international community and we had to mobilize international resources to permit us to begin move so that things could tangibly change on the ground and relatively soon.
What is significant is that we may have mobilized the effort, but the fact is you don't produce 46 countries and organizations and institutions in this short a period of time unless there is clearly a strong international commitment to be responsive.
The recognition of this as a historic moment, as a turning point, is something that is obviously not ours alone. And the fact that we could have this kind of a conference this soon says something about the nature of the international support for it.
So one track was a donors conference, which clearly allowed us to move in terms of implementation. The other is something that we've said, that we see the Israeli-Palestinian agreement as being a very important building block for a comprehensive peace settlement; and that we were going to be moving to continue to promote a comprehensive approach to peace.
And what you saw today was also an unprecedented event, as the President said. And having the Israeli Foreign Minister meet with the Jordanian Crown Prince and make it very clear that they are going to follow up quickly themselves in some practical ways is another way for us to demonstrate that the second track is very meaningful. And we're working full steam ahead on it.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Just to give you perhaps a little bit of perspective about the President and his involvement in this, from the very first announcement of the -- when we first got news of the agreement between Israel and the PLO, the President had one core instinct which has driven him and therefore policy in this regard, and that is to get behind this agreement and make it succeed and build momentum in a way that translates into greater public support in Israel, greater popular support in the region, and therefore a greater ability to move ahead towards a comprehensive breakthrough which remains his objective.
In that regard, he has been urging all of us on since September 13th to take advantage of this momentum and to do whatever we can to get the donors conference organized, to get the private sector initiative organized, and to press the Arabs to be responsive on their boycott or in their relations with Israel, to keep the Syrians engaged. And when he heard that the Crown Prince of Jordan and the Foreign Minister of Israel were both coming to the donors conference, he took the initiative and invited them both to meet with him in the Oval Office to talk about their common agenda, particularly focusing on the prospects for moving ahead in the economic spheres between Jordan and Israel and insuring that Jordan had an important role to play in the ...
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