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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and
Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat

Press Statements
September 4, 1999, Gaza City, Gaza
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
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Albright and ArafatSECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Good evening. The Chairman and I have had a very, very good meeting tonight. And, indeed, I am pleased to announce that the Israelis and the Palestinians have reached an agreement to implement the Wye River Memorandum. That agreement is another important step on the road to Israeli-Palestinian peace. The agreement will be signed tomorrow night at Sharm-el-Sheikh.

This process of working for peace will continue to be challenging, but the significance of this achievement is clear. Working intensively, the Israelis and Palestinians solved problems together, negotiated solutions together, and began to re-establish trust and confidence in each other. This development is particularly important as Palestinians and Israelis will now launch the accelerated permanent status negotiations. They may have really seized -- I believe -- an historic opportunity, and will now tackle the issue that will define their peace for generations to come. Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat spoke to each other a little while ago, and it is clear to me from having observed this, that they both have taken very difficult decisions, and once again, have shown that negotiations work, and I applaud their leadership.

The Chairman and I also just spoke to President Clinton. Obviously, the President was very, very pleased. He has spent a tremendous amount of time on this in terms of making telephone calls, and his intensive involvement has been evidenced. The Chairman thanks the President for that. He also just spoke with President Mubarak who has been instrumental in putting this together, and who also has worked terribly hard on this. And we are also both of us very grateful to Foreign Minister Amr Moussa, and to Dr. Osama El Baz who worked on this also in such a dedicated way. President Clinton and I are committed to seeing this process through to its successful conclusion in a comprehensive peace.

Thank you very much.

CHAIRMAN ARAFAT (in Arabic): I would like to thank Secretary Albright. I would like to thank you, Madame Albright, for your efforts, for your clarifications, and your hard work. I would like to thank you for everything you have done. I would like to thank the United States, and I would like to thank President Clinton for his efforts. With all these efforts and hard work we were able to reach an agreement. I would also like to thank President Mubarak, and I would like to thank Foreign Minister Amr Moussa and Dr. Osama El Baz and the other colleagues and brothers on the Egyptian side.

Secretary Albright, you have exerted a great deal of effort, and as you mentioned earlier to the press, I have spoken with Prime Minister Barak, and we have agreed on important things, to work together and to work hand-in-hand in order to conclude and reach that peace of the brave.

Once again, I would like to express my appreciation to the U.S. role and to the Egyptian role and to you, Madame Secretary. Tomorrow night, we will be signing together the agreement in Sharm-el-Sheikh under the sponsorship of President Mubarak, in which he played a great role.

Once again, I would like to thank all of you.

[End of Document]

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