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Statement on Secretary of State Warren M. Christopher's Trip to the Middle East

February 04, 1993

In accord with my pledge to maintain continuity in the Arab-Israeli peace negotiations, I have decided to dispatch Secretary of State Christopher to the Middle East. His purpose will be to convey to all the parties my commitment to advance the peace negotiations. He will elicit their views on how best to promote progress, and he will discuss bilateral issues and regional problems, including Iraq.

This will be Secretary Christopher's first mission abroad. It is an indication of the priority my administration attaches to peacemaking in the Middle East. It also presents an opportunity for the parties to focus their energies on the formidable challenge of achieving peace in a strife-torn region.

With violence engulfing so much of the world, it is striking that in the Middle East a process of direct negotiations has begun. Israel, all its Arab neighbors, and the Palestinians have been engaged in a common endeavor to achieve a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace based on U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

The United States, together with our Russian cosponsor, played a critical role in launching these negotiations. It is my intention to see that we continue that role.

We cannot impose a solution on the Middle East. Only the leaders of the region can make peace. Theirs is an awesome responsibility. Those who oppose the process, who seek to subvert it through violence and intimidation, will find no tolerance here for their methods. But those who are willing to make peace will find in me and my administration a full partner. This is an historic moment. It can slip away all too easily. But if we seize the opportunity, we can begin now to construct a peaceful Middle East for future generations.

William J. Clinton, Statement on Secretary of State Warren M. Christopher's Trip to the Middle East Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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