Statement by the President Regarding Peace Between Israel & Syria The West Portico

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 16, 1999


The West Portico

3:40 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Over the past 48 hours, Israel and Syria have taken a critical step in the journey toward peace. That journey will be a difficult one, but with courage and perseverance on both sides, the result will be deeply rewarding to the people of Israel and the people of Syria.

In the course of their meetings with Secretary Albright and with me, Prime Minister Barak and Foreign Minister al-Shara agreed to make every effort to reach peace between Israel and Syria, as part of a just, lasting and comprehensive Middle East peace, based on United Nations resolutions 242 and 338, and the Madrid terms of reference. To that end, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister agreed to return to Washington to continue their negotiations on an intensive basis beginning January 3rd, 2000 -- about two weeks from now.

They have requested the United States to participate in these negotiations, and we are honored to do so. They agreed to take steps to ensure that these negotiations will be conducted in a productive and positive atmosphere.

We are witnessing a new beginning in the effort to achieve a comprehensive peace in the Middle East. With Syrian-Israeli negotiations off to a good start, Israeli-Lebanese negotiations expected to begin soon, and the Palestinian track well underway, we can truly set our sights on a new and different Middle East.

As I emphasized from the outset, the journey will be tough. Nothing in the past 48 hours should lead us to believe otherwise. But the parties are embarked on this path. They have agreed there should be no looking back, for the sake of our generation and generations yet to come.

I thank the Prime Minister and his team. I thank Foreign Minister Shara and his team. I thank Secretary Albright and those on the American team. All of them have worked hard. And I want Israel and Syria to know they can count on the United States every step of the way.

Thank you very much.

END 3:45 P.M. EST

What's New December 1999

A Millennium Invitation from the President and the First Lady

Statement on OMB's Final Quarterly Report

Remarks at Human Rights Day/Eleanor Roosevelt Award Ceremony

Remarks at Foster Care Event

Remarks on Health Care

Remarks by President Clinton, Prime Minister Barak and Foreign Minister Al-Shara

Press Conference on Middle East Peace Process

Statement Regarding Peace Between Israel & Syria

Remarks on Bridging the Digital Divide

Remarks at Signing Ceremony for Human Rights

Remarks at Memorial Service for Worcester Firefighters

Remarks at Clean Car Event

Remarks to the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce

Remarks at D.C. Central Kitchen

Release of the Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health

Remarks at Signing of ILO Convention #182

Intiative To Protect Consumers Buying Prescription Drug Products Over The Internet

Statement By The President on FY2001 Budget

Remarks on Land Preservation

Statement By The Press Secretary on the Internet

The President's Christmas Message

Human Rights Day, Bill of Rights, & Human Rights Week 1999

The President's Kwanzaa Message


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