Am 05. Juli 2000 gab Präsident Bill Clinton in einer Pressekonferenz bekannt,
den israelischen Premierminister Ehud Barak und Palästinenserpräsident
Yassir Arafat zu Friedensverhandlungen nach Camp David eingeladen zu haben:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release July 5, 2000
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
ON ANNOUNCEMENT OF CAMP DAVID SUMMIT
WITH PRIME MINISTER BARAK OF ISRAEL
AND CHAIRMAN ARAFAT OF THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY
The James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
10:55 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Early next week, Prime Minister
Barak and Chairman Arafat will come to Camp David at my invitation. A few
days before that, their negotiators will arrive to help pave the way for
this summit. The objective is to reach an agreement on the core issues
that have fueled a half-century of conflict between Israelis and
After lengthy discussion with the two leaders, and after
listening to Secretary Albright's report, I have concluded that this is the
best way -- indeed, it is the only way -- to move forward.
To state the task is to suggest the magnitude of the challenge.
Behind the Israeli-Palestinian conflict lie the most profound questions,
about beliefs, political identity, collective fate. Etched in each side's
mind are intense fears and emotions and a deep-seated commitment to defend
their people's interests. There are no easy answers, and certainly no
painless ones. And, therefore, there is clearly no guarantee of success.
Why this summit and why now? While Israeli and Palestinian
negotiators have made real progress, crystallizing issues and defining
gaps, the truth is they can take the talks no further at their level.
Significant differences remain, and they involve the most complex and most
sensitive of questions. The negotiators have reached an impasse. Movement
now depends on historic decisions that only the two leaders can make.
I will be there with them and I intend to do all I can to help
them in this endeavor. But to delay this gathering, to remain stalled, is
simply no longer an option. For the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as all
of us has seen, knows no status quo. It can move forward toward real
peace, or it can slide back into turmoil. It will not stand still. If the
parties do not seize this moment, if they cannot make progress now, there
will be more hostility and more bitterness, perhaps even more violence.
And to what end? Eventually, after more bloodshed and tears,
they will have to come back to the negotiating table. They will have to
return to face the same history, the same geography, the same demographic
trends, the same passions and the same hatreds -- and I am sure, the exact
same choices that confront them here and now.
Of course, action does have its perils. But so, too, does
inaction. The decisions will not come easier with time. Fundamentally,
that is what I have concluded. The leaders have to make the decisions that
are still there to be made, and the longer we wait, the more difficult the
decisions are likely to become. The Israeli and the Palestinian people
have leaders now who are visionary enough, courageous enough, capable of
building a fair, just and lasting peace.
In coming here and accepting this challenge, Prime Minister Barak
and Chairman Arafat have shown they are ready to take risks to pursue
peace. The rest of the world -- and especially the rest of the region --
cannot afford to be bystanders. For all those who are truly committed to
the cause of peace and to the well-being of the Israeli and Palestinian
people, now is the time to lend their support to the peacemakers.
To the people of Israel and to the Palestinian people, I would
like to say this: Peace under circumstances like these is never cost-free.
Neither side can achieve 100 percent of its goals. For the optimal
solution of each party is, by definition, one the other party cannot and
will not accept. Negotiations, therefore, must create an outcome that is
realistic, balanced and fair, and that meets the fundamental objectives of
both sides; an outcome that strengthens the two parties rather than weakens
one of them; an outcome that accommodates both sides' vital needs and
dreams; an outcome that reconciles their competing grievances.
That is the only outcome that will permit Israelis and
Palestinians to offer their children a future far different from the past,
one with more opportunity and less fear, more hope and less despair. And
that, of course, is the ultimate prize of peace.
The objective is often overshadowed, I might say, as all of you
know, by the abject dreariness of the pursuit -- one that you will, no
doubt, have occasion to comment on in the days ahead. The ups and downs of
the process, the daily hassles and disputes, the open-ended nature of the
negotiations -- all these, over time, have blurred the vision of what it is
we are trying to achieve.
For Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat, the challenge next
week will be to start drawing the contours of the long-awaited peace -- a
peace that can fulfill the Israeli people's quest for security, for
recognition, for genuine reconciliation with Palestinians and genuine
acceptance in the region -- acceptance in deeds as well as words. A peace
that can fulfill the Palestinian people's legitimate aspirations to
determine their destiny on their own land, and to build a better future.
Almost seven years ago now, we witnessed the historic handshake
between the late Prime Minister Rabin and Chairman Arafat. It began a
process that offered the Israeli and Palestinian people the chance to
achieve what I then described as "the quiet miracle" of a normal life.
That is still the vision that must inspire the efforts and call forth the
commitment, courage and creativity of Prime Minister Barak and Chairman
Arafat next week.
Q Mr. President, do you think that this is the last
opportunity for peace during your presidency? And how long will you give
these negotiations? Are you talking days, weeks, what?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, the answer to the first -- actually, the
short answer to both questions is, I don't know. I'll tell you what I do
know. I know that Prime Minister Barak strongly believes that the nature
of this process is such that the final decisions cannot be made except by a
meeting between the two leaders, and that he cannot go further than he has
gone without that sort of meeting.
Chairman Arafat understands that the nature of the process is
such that the final decisions will have to be made by the two leaders. And
so they're willing to give it their best shot. And they understand, too,
that as we have already seen, delay tends to make these things worse, not
One of the most important judgments any political leader has to
make when dealing with a thorny problem is whether delay will make it
better or worse. Occasionally, you actually get problems where the best
thing to do right now is nothing, that delay will actually cause them to
become less severe. These are not such problems. Delay only seems to me
to make them more severe. So that's the answer to the first question.
The second question is, we all know what the deal is. We know
what the issues are. We know at least within a range what the options are.
I think if we work hard we can get it done in several days, but I will give
it whatever time is required, as long as we're still moving forward.
Q Mr. President, could you describe the extent of your
participation? Are you going to move up to Camp David, lock, stock and
barrel, for as long as it takes? And are you going to present a U.S.,
maybe a model plan, that might bring these two sides together?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think the less I say right now about what
I'm going to do, the better. And I will spend as much time there as I need
to spend. I may come back here from time to time, depending on what else
is happening, what else we need to do. We've got a lot going on in
Congress now, even though they'll be gone a lot -- some of the time,
perhaps. But I think they'll be here most of the time we'll be here, and I
may have to come back. So we'll just see. But I will be there a lot and
I'll work as hard as I need to work.
Q What happens if this slips past the deadline in September,
how important is that deadline?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, it's a deadline they set for themselves,
and I think they all see it in terms that are -- both sides see it in terms
that are different from the deadline they set for the framework agreement
-- that is, they knew that there were problems inherent in making the
framework agreement that if they could overcome, they could make the final
agreement consistent with the framework agreement.
So that's one of the things, obviously, that has driven my
decision here. I think that neither of them really want to see us go by
September without a resolution of this, and I think they understands the
Q Mr. President, can you talk about the symbolism of the
location of Camp David, what impact at all it might have on the parties to
help them bridge the difficult gaps between them?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, it is a place where, obviously, a milestone
in Middle East peace was reached, and I hope in that sense, I think it has
to be a positive environment. But I think they also realize that from the
very beginning, these were the hardest questions that go to the core of
both sides' identity and sense of themselves -- far more difficult to
resolve, with all respect, than any issues between Israel and the Egyptians
or the Jordanians, or even the Syrians. Although we are not there yet with
the Syrians, everybody knows pretty much what the deal is there, and that
there are practical questions there that are not nearly so charged with
emotion and identity, and almost national consciousness as these are.
So these are the difficult ones. And obviously I hope that the
setting will help to inspire them and to inspire us. I hope we'll all be
inspired by it. But it's also a great place for us to be, because it gives
us a reasonable chance to work in quiet and without interruption, and to
observe the necessary discretion that, without which, we won't be able to
Source: US State Departement
Photo: Wikipedia CC Lizenz
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