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Remarks at a Reception Honoring King Hussein of Jordan and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel

July 26, 1994

Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. Thank you for your kind remarks. Thank you for being a remarkable host tonight for this fitting capstone of the last 2 days. And thank you for your tireless efforts toward this remarkable achievement. The world is in your debt as well, sir, and we're grateful to you.

What a 2 days this has been. It's been so elevating and so exhilarating, I hesitate to diminish it in any way with a little humor. But when we were being called in and we realized, the three of us, that once more we were going to be asked to say something, I said, "Isn't it wonderful we're going to give another speech." [Laughter] His Majesty rolled his eyes—[laughter]—and the Prime Minister said, "You go in and tell everybody we're very grateful to them, we've had a wonderful time, and we're going to eat and drink some more." [Laughter]

I think America will long remember the remarkable signing ceremony yesterday and the gripping appearance of King Hussein and Prime Minister Rabin before the joint session of Congress today. They were truly magnificent. They remind us by the events here in the last 2 days and by the lives that they brought here that it still is possible for hope to triumph over hate, for unity to triumph over division, for optimism to vanquish cynicism even in this day and time.

And I want to say a special word of thanks on behalf of the American people for this process in the Middle East. Your Majesty, Prime Minister, if you look out in this room today, there are Jewish-American and Arab-American citizens of my country who never knew each other before this process began, who never related to each other, who always wondered if they really did share the same citizenship, the same experiences, the same feelings and values. Now they're part of the Builders for Peace program. They're talking about all the young people coming over here from Jordan and Israel and Egypt and Morocco in the Seeds for Peace program. They're imagining what might happen in the new world of investment and trade and human contact between people in the United States and people in the Middle East. So that is something that we owe you as Americans.

I am very proud of the role the United States has been able to play in this process, but all we can ever do is to make it possible for brave leaders to feel secure enough, certain enough, trusting enough of us so that they can do what it is in their heart they wish to do. If we have done that, I am very proud and grateful for the opportunity to have done that.

But in the end, we must, all of us, be grateful to these two remarkable men and their remarkable nations. And we must commit, all of us, to make sure that the great journey they have started has a successful conclusion. That is my commitment. And with that, I welcome them to this podium and thank them for these last 2 magnificent days.

Thank you very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 9:25 p.m. in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the State Department.

William J. Clinton, Remarks at a Reception Honoring King Hussein of Jordan and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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