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Exchange With Reporters Prior to Departure for Memphis, Tennessee

November 13, 1993

Middle East Peace Process

Q. Mr. President, PLO Chairman Arafat seems to have condemned the murder of an Israeli at the end of October. Do you think this is in response to your request and Mr. Rabin's request?

The President. Well, perhaps, but regardless I think it's a very positive sign. I've only received limited reports this morning, but from what I've heard it's a very positive sign. It's the sort of thing that will enable them to work together and to implement the accord.

Q. Were there any direct contacts between you and Arafat in order to get him to condemn the murder?

The President. We had no direct contacts, the White House did not, but we made it very clear what our position was, and I think that the Israelis—they have direct contact of course with the PLO now because of the implementation of the accord. And I think perhaps again I would say we maybe ought to give most of the credit to that. I hope the meeting yesterday highlighted it and our position is clear. But they need to keep their word to each other, that's the most important thing.


Q. What about NAFTA, how do you feel about NAFTA today?

The President. Feel a little better. We had a good day yesterday; you know we've had three big days. I think we've had 27 people come out, and I think we're going to have another good day today. We'll have several of those who are declared down in Memphis with us, and we're making some pretty good inroads now in places where I didn't know we could get some votes. So it's going to be a hard weekend, but I think we'll make it.

Q. [Inaudible]

The President. What I have always said is if they're opposed on the grounds of NAFTA next year, I'd be happy to say in any district in America or to any district in America that I think NAFTA is in the public interest, it's in the national interest, and it should not be the basis on which any Member of Congress, without regard to party, is voted out. Thanks.

NOTE: The exchange began at approximately 8:25 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters Prior to Departure for Memphis, Tennessee Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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