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DEVELOPMENTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST,

MARCH 1988

TUESDAY, MARCH 15, 1988

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON EUROPE AND THE MIDDLE EAST,

Washington, DC. The subcommittee met at 1:38 p.m., in room 2200, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Lee H. Hamilton, (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Mr. HAMILTON. The meeting of the subcommittee will come to order. The Subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East meets in open session today to review recent developments in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. Because of scheduling difficulties and the hectic pace of recent United States diplomatic efforts in the region, this is the first formal public hearing with administration witnesses this year. This hearing follows two hearings held in MidDecember on the West Bank and Gaza and on the Persian Gulf.

Today's hearing will focus primarily on United States efforts to restart the Middle East peace process. The continued violence on the West Bank and in Gaza and the situation in the Persian Gulf.

We are pleased to have with us today Assistant Secretary of State Richard W. Murphy. Secretary Murphy, we appreciate your appearance today. We know this is a very busy time for you. We understand you have a prepared statement. That statement, of course will be entered into the record in full. We want to allow ample time for questions. You may proceed, sir. STATEMENT OF HON. RICHARD W. MURPHY, ASSISTANT SECRE

TARY BUREAU OF NEAR EASTERN AND SOUTH ASIAN AFFAIRS, DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Ambassador MURPHY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm very happy to be able to be here today to brief the subcommittee on developments in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf.

You spoke of the hectic pace, and I take it that is your acknowledgement that I was not trying to dodge one of these hearings over the last couple of months. There was some suspicion expressed by

Mr. HAMILTON. There's been no charge levied against you, Mr. Secretary

Ambassador MURPHY. No, but I felt if I didn't make it today there just might be.

(1)

your staff.

DEVELOPMENTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST,

MARCH 1988

TUESDAY, MARCH 15, 1988

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON EUROPE AND THE MIDDLE EAST,

Washington, DC. The subcommittee met at 1:38 p.m., in room 2200, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Lee H. Hamilton, (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Mr. HAMILTON. The meeting of the subcommittee will come to order. The Subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East meets in open session today to review recent developments in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. Because of scheduling difficulties and the hectic pace of recent United States diplomatic efforts in the region, this is the first formal public hearing with administration witnesses this year. This hearing follows two hearings held in MidDecember on the West Bank and Gaza and on the Persian Gulf.

Today's hearing will focus primarily on United States efforts to restart the Middle East peace process. The continued violence on the West Bank and in Gaza and the situation in the Persian Gulf.

We are pleased to have with us today Assistant Secretary of State Richard W. Murphy. Secretary Murphy, we appreciate your appearance today. We know this is a very busy time for you. We understand you have a prepared statement. That statement, of course will be entered into the record in full. We want to allow ample time for questions. You may proceed, sir.

STATEMENT OF HON. RICHARD W. MURPHY, ASSISTANT SECRE

TARY BUREAU OF NEAR EASTERN AND SOUTH ASIAN AFFAIRS, DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Ambassador MURPHY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm very happy to be able to be here today to brief the subcommittee on developments in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf.

You spoke of the hectic pace, and I take it that is your acknowledgement that I was not trying to dodge one of these hearings over the last couple of months. There was some suspicion expressed by

your staff.

Mr. HAMILTON. There's been no charge levied against you, Mr. Secretary

Ambassador MURPHY. No, but I felt if I didn't make it today there just might be.

(1)

Our military sales to Israel, much of them financed through forgiven FMS credits, play a key role in helping Israel to maintain its qualitative military edge over potential opponents. We will not sell weapons in the Middle East that will threaten Israel's qualitative military edge.

Again, I thank you for this opportunity to appear, and would welcome questions.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Murphy follows:]

PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. RICHARD W. MURPHY

Mr. Chairman,

I am delighted at last to be able to brief the committee on

developments in the Middle East.

Since mid-December, when we

had the last formal update, U.S. diplomatic efforts have been

extraordinarily active across the whole sweep of our region.

The challenges we face are of signal importance to U.S. national

security interests.

There has been concern in the past that the U.S. had been

consigned to the sidelines as a passive observer of events in

the Middle East as a region.

The facts of the past several

months belie those assertions.

In the Middle East, we are working intensively to bring the

parties together directly in dialogue on a true, durable peace

in which all parties must compromise, and from which all parties

will benefit.

In Lebanon, we have been encouraging a process

of dialogue that could help end years of bloody civil war.

In

the Persian Gulf region, our naval escort operation is working

smoothly, aided materially by the cooperation of our western

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