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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Remarks at a "Seeds of Peace" Dinner
Honoring King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordan
New York, New York, March 31, 1997
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State

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As Prepared for Delivery

Your Majesties, John Wallach, distinguished guests, and above all, our young Ambassadors here from the Seeds of Peace, good evening.
I am delighted to join you in honoring King Hussein. And I am pleased to reaffirm, on behalf of President Clinton, America's commitment to comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East.
The Ruth Ratner Miller Seeds of Peace Prize is named in honor of the beloved mother of Aaron Miller, the State Department's Deputy Special Middle East Coordinator. It is awarded, this year, to a true champion of peace.
King Hussein understands, and has helped the world to understand, the human consequences both of peace and of the absence of peace. He has taught us that reconciliation among whole peoples begins at the individual level, when anger softens, understanding dawns and trust builds.
King Hussein has played a major role in the history of this half century. But his vision is fixed, not in the past, but on the future. Where others see no escape from conflict, he sees no acceptable alternative to peace. And he has labored courageously and relentlessly to build peace.
During the past few years, with Jordan's active participation, Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians have accomplished much. Through their talks and their agreements, they have begun to construct a new political landscape in the Middle East, in which neighbors are truly neighbors.
But this process is not complete. This future is not yet at hand.
There remain those who cannot bring themselves to accept peace, and those who cannot or will not free themselves from old thinking and old habits.
The process of creating confidence, forging agreements and meeting commitments can be painstaking and painful. It requires a steadfast adherence to principle and steadfast opposition to terror. And it deserves the support of governments and citizens from around the globe.
It is appropriate, this evening, that the award to His Majesty will be presented by his--and our--young allies in the cause of peace.
The Seeds of Peace are dedicated to the proposition that when young people learn enough about history to gain perspective, enough about their neighbors to know them as people, and enough about themselves to understand that happiness cannot rest on the misery of others, they will become builders of peace.
No one has a greater stake in the Middle East's future than the young, and it is by the young that the choice between conflict and reconciliation will ultimately be made.
Tonight, we gather in support of John Wallach's idea for helping young people in the Middle East and other troubled areas to make the right choice.
We do that by helping them to learn. And by letting them know that they are not alone.
To those who are participating--or who have graduated--from the Seeds of Peace program, and to your friends throughout the region, we salute you. We believe you are on the right path. We know you can make a difference. And we assure you that we will do all we can to help you build the kind of durable and genuine peace that your region deserves, but has so long been denied.
Thank you very much.


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