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scope of this subcommittee, we are actively supporting UN efforts to gain a negotiated political settlement in
Real issues are yet to be resolved among the
parties, but there is good reason to hope that a satisfactory
agreement could be achieved, therefore leading to Soviet
withdrawals and opening the way to a neutral, non-aligned
Afghanistan where the people exercise their right to
In the Middle East today we are at a moment of critical
After years of strife, the time may at last be ripe
for major movement towards a negotiated peace in the Middle
It is a time of challenge and a time of testing.
experience of recent years shows that violence begets only more
violence, while negotiations can work and can produce peace.
The challenge before the parties in the region today is to
seize the opportunity for progress toward peace that lies
Over the past several weeks the United States has been engaged in intensive efforts with parties to the Middle East conflict, aimed at opening a path toward negotiations for peace.
The Secretary of State has met at length with the leaders of
Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and Syria.
We have consulted closely
with our European allies.
I myself have just returned from
talks in Western Europe and with the Soviet Foreign Minister.
As you are aware, Prime Minister Shamir is now here in
Washington and we are continuing our talks with him.
Our discussions in the region have seen the emergence of a
new sense of realism.
Leaders in each of the countries we
visited showed a clear willingness to consider new ideas and to
look a fresh at old ones.
The mood was one of seriousness and
of an honest desire to find ways to move forward.
constant encouragement to continue and expand our efforts.
The result of all of our discussions was the presentation
of a new. U.s. proposal for moving toward peace in the region.
While our approach is ambitious, we believe it is fair and
No party will be able to achieve all of its
Our proposal, however, addresses the fundamental
Most importantly, our proposal is
concerns of all parties.
realistic and it is workable.
Our objective is a comprehensive peace, a peace that
provides for the security of all states in the region and that satisfies the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. It
would be achieved through negotiations between Israel and each
of its neighbors which is willing to do so, that is, Lebanon,
Syria, and Jordan. Each negotiation would be based on UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 in all their parts:
Our approach, as regards the West Bank and Gaza, includes
six months of negotiations on interim arrangements, firmly
interlocked with an early date certain for the start of
negotiations on a final settlement. The negotiations would be kicked off by a properly structured international conference.
The conference would be open to permanent members of the UN
Security Council and to parties to the conflict who accept resolutions 242 and 338, and who renounce terrorism and
The conference, in a manner to be agreed, could
receive reports of the negotiations but not impose solutions or
veto agreements reached between the parties.
The proposal we left with the parties is an integral whole. It is carefully balanced to take the concerns of all into
It will not work if the parties accept some portions
and reject other parts.
We are on a fast track.
We would hope the bilateral
negotiations could begin May 1.
We asked the leaders to whom
we gave our proposal to be in touch with us this month with
We fully recognize that we have posed a vital challenge to
our friends in the region. They face difficult and painful
decisions, but decisions of historic proportions.
also an opportunity
a crucial opportunity which is unlikely
to arise again soon.
Our proposal has resulted from long study and many hours of
discussion in the region.
I found recognition of this in Moscow
The Soviet leadership is impressed by the high level
commitment the President displayed in sending Secretary Shultz
to the region with initiatives that aim at a comprehensive
I said that our proposal is an integral one and no
regional party or outside power may pick the elements of our
proposal that they choose while blocking others.
continue to remind them, as I did in Moscow, that without ai
clear statement disassociating themselves from terrorism against
regional parties, without expanded opportunity for Jewish
emigration, and without full diplomatic relations with Israel,
Moscow's seriousness about peace will remain in question.
On a separate but equally important issue, we have been
actively engaged in promoting in Lebanon the process of constitutional reform and national reconciliation. We will
continue to do what we can to help restore Lebanon's sovereignty, unity, and territorial independence. The suffering
of the Lebanese people has continued for far too long.
believe the efforts of the Lebanese themselves to restructure
their political system are critical to the future of Lebanon,
consequently, to regional stability.
The focus of my talks in Moscow was Middle East peace, but
we also treated the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan in our
There were no breakthroughs in Moscow, but
there are some observations I want to offer you.
war remains the primary cause of instability in the Gulf region.
The Administration is continuing to pursue its two-track policy:
working through diplomacy to bring an end to conflict, but while taking specific military measures to defuse the immediate
threats to U.S. interest that arise from the war.
Our most publicized short-term measure, increased naval
presence to protect U.S. flag shipping in the Gulf, has been a