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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

before them.



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.

We received

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

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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

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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.

They face

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

last week.

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.

We will

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.

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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.

The Iran-Iraq

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

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