Remarks by the President upon Departure for Japan on the Middle East Peace Summit at Camp David (7/20/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                          (Camp David, Maryland)
For Immediate Release                                   July 20, 2000

                         REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                         UPON DEPARTURE FOR JAPAN

                        Thurmont Elementary School
                            Thurmont, Maryland

12:45 A.M. EDT

          THE PRESIDENT:  As all of you know, for the past nine days we
have been engaged in the most comprehensive and thorough negotiations ever
between Palestinians and Israelis on the core issues of their 52-year
conflict.  The two parties have been making an intensive effort to resolve
their differences over the most difficult issues.  That gaps remain
substantial but there has been progress, and we must all be prepared to go
the extra mile.

          After a round of intensive consultations this evening, the
parties agreed to stay at Camp David while I travel to Okinawa for the G-8
summit.  Mr. Lockhart will be able to fill you in on the details of how
this occurred.  I have to take the plane and I'm running late, but I do
want him to explain what happened.

          During the time I am gone, Secretary Albright will be working
with the parties and we'll continue to try to close the gaps.  Upon my
return, I will assess the status of the talks.

          There should be no illusion about the difficult task ahead, but
there should be no limit to the effort we're prepared to make.  These are
in fundamental ways the hardest peace issues I have ever dealt with, but
the short answer to why we're still here after everybody thought we were
through is that nobody wanted to give up.  After all these years, as hard
as these issues are, they don't want to give up.  And I didn't think we
should give up, and so we're still plugging away.

          But you should draw no inference from this.  I will observe the
news blackout on the details and will continue to do it, but this is
really, really hard.

          Thank you very much.

          Q     Mr. President, could you say one thing about your personal
involvement here, what you have invested here personally over the past nine
days, and what it was that led you to conclude that this phase of the
summit is not going to pan out as you had hoped?

          THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I don't know that it won't now.  I think
anything I would say about that would in some way or another violate the
prohibitions we have had.  I have respected that rigorously.  I have asked
the other members of the parties to do so.  And I just think any
characterization or description beyond what I told you -- we all thought it
was over, at least now that -- and then we discovered that nobody wanted to
quit.  Nobody wanted to give up.  And that should be encouraging.  Thank

     END  12:48 A.M. EDT

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