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pd21au00 Remarks at a ``Tribute to the President'' Reception in Los Angeles...

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[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page i-ii]
Monday, August 21, 2000
Volume 36--Number 33
Pages 1855-1901

[[Page i]]

Weekly Compilation of



[[Page ii]]



Addresses and Remarks

        Beverly Hills, American Federation of Teachers and National 
            Education Association luncheon--1876
         Los Angeles
             Democratic National Committee brunch honoring the Cabinet--
             Democratic National Committee dinner--1887
             Democratic National Convention--1881
             Hollywood tribute to the President--1865
             Jewish community celebration--1869
             National Democratic Institute luncheon--1873
             Representative Xavier Becerra, reception--1857
             ``Tribute to the President'' reception--1888
    Michigan, community in Monroe--1899
    Radio address--1863

Appointments and Nominations

    White House staff, Presidential Envoy for AIDS Cooperation, 

 Communications to Federal Agencies

    Second Chance Homes for Teen Parents, memorandum--1864

Interviews With the News Media

        Al Hayat, Arabic-language newspaper, written responses--1855
        Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times--1889

 Statements by the President

    See also Appointment and Nominations
    English proficiency, Executive order to improve access to services 
        for persons with limited--1857

Supplementary Materials

    Acts approved by the President--1901
    Checklist of White House press releases--1901
    Digest of other White House announcements--1900
    Nominations submitted to the Senate--1901


Editor's Note: The President was in Lake Placid, NY, on August 18, the 
closing date of this issue. Releases and announcements issued by the 
Office of the Press Secretary but not received in time for inclusion in 
this issue will be printed next week.


Published every Monday by the Office of the Federal Register, National 
Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC 20408, the Weekly 
Compilation of Presidential Documents contains statements, messages, and
other Presidential materials released by the White House during the 
preceding week.

The Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents is published pursuant to
the authority contained in the Federal Register Act (49 Stat. 500, as 
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There are no restrictions on the republication of material appearing in 
the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents.

[[Page 1855]]

[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page 1855-1857]
Monday, August 21, 2000
Volume 36--Number 33
Pages 1855-1901
Week Ending Friday, August 18, 2000
Written Responses to Questions Submitted by the Arabic-Language 
Newspaper Al Hayat

August 10, 2000

Middle East Peace Process

    Q. Do you have any special message for the Arab world after Camp 
    The President. We have in the next few months an historic chance to 
resolve the Palestinian issue. It is the core of the Arab-Israeli 
conflict, and we can and must resolve it on a basis that's fair, 
honorable, and lasting. Together, we need to seize this opportunity, or 
it will be lost. The parties cannot do it alone. We need the help of our 
Arab friends in the region. And we need an approach that resolves 
problems in a practical and fair way so that the principles that guide 
Arab-Israeli peace--comprehensiveness and implementation of United 
Nations Security Resolutions 242 and 338, including land for peace--can 
be realized in a way that meets the needs of both sides. What is fair 
and just for Palestinians and Arabs must also be fair and just for 
Israelis. There cannot be a winner and a loser in these negotiations. We 
must have two winners, or we will lose the peace.
    I know that there is a deep sense of grievance in the Arab world, 
and through nearly 8 years of working for peace alongside Chairman 
Arafat, I understand the suffering and pain of the Palestinians. But I 
also know that the only pathway to realize Palestinian aspirations is 
through negotiations, through the process of give and take where each 
side can have its needs met and its hopes realized. I urge all those in 
this region committed to peace to join with me and to seize this 
historic moment.
    The opportunity to work for a lasting peace between the Palestinian 
and Israeli people has been among the most meaningful and rewarding 
aspects of my Presidency. I am motivated in these efforts by the 
possibility of a better future for all of the peoples in the region. We 
must all remain focused on this better future, a future in which the 
Palestinian people might finally achieve through negotiations their 
aspiration of a Palestinian State recognized by and integrated with the 
world, at peace and working to address the needs of the Palestinian 

U.S. Role in the Peace Process

    Q. How would you characterize the American role during Camp David 
talks? Do you see that role evolving in the future, and if so, in what 
    The President. The talks at Camp David were revolutionary in their 
detail, their directness, and their honesty about what each side needed 
to reach an agreement. I worked personally--sometimes all night long--
with both sides to advance this process. Both sides, both Chairman 
Arafat and Prime Minister Barak, worked hard and in good faith on 
difficult problems. Sometimes we proposed ideas, suggestions, even 
language. We made progress across the board. At the same time, our role 
was not and will never be a substitute for direct Israeli-Palestinian 
engagement. We will need both levels of interaction to reach an 

U.S. Embassy

    Q.  You have repeatedly urged the two sides of the conflict not to 
take any unilateral action that could block progress in the peace 
process. However, you told Israeli television in your recent interview 
that you are reviewing the decision to move the Embassy to Jerusalem by 
the end of the year. Don't you consider this announcement a 
contradiction of the stated American policy and an impediment to your 
peace efforts?
    The President. From the beginning of my administration, one factor 
has guided me: to take no action that I judged would harm the peace 
process. That still is my guiding principle. The 2 weeks I spent at Camp 

[[Page 1856]]

underscores my commitment to doing everything I can to help both sides 
reach an agreement.
    With regard to the Embassy, I stated that I would review the issue 
by the end of the year, and I will do so. It is my great hope that by 
then Israelis and Palestinians--with our help--will have reached an 
agreement on Jerusalem that meets their needs. Then I would also be able 
to inaugurate an American Embassy in the capital of a Palestinian State. 
I firmly believe that the Jerusalem problem can be resolved in a way in 
which both sides' national aspirations can be realized.


    Q.  Many Arabs consider President Clinton as the most sympathetic to 
the suffering of the Palestinian people and their political aspirations 
and the only leader in their history to have achieved breakthroughs in 
the Arab-Israeli conflict. Are you concerned that taking a position in 
the issue of Jerusalem at this stage would hurt not only Arabs but 
Muslims and Christians around the world?
    The President. I have worked hard to understand the plight of the 
Palestinian people, to understand their aspirations, their losses, and 
their frustrations. My trip to Gaza and the opportunity to address the 
Palestinian National Council with Chairman Arafat was critical to this 
process and a great honor for me.
    I am guided in my efforts by one central goal, the need to promote a 
fair and honorable solution to each of the core issues that both sides 
find acceptable. Jerusalem is a difficult issue because of its critical 
importance to Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. It is a unique problem 
which requires a unique solution. In this regard, Jerusalem is really 
three cities: It is a municipal city like any other with problems of 
environment, traffic control, and city services; it is a holy city which 
embodies the values of three great religious traditions and which 
contains religious sites sacred to three religions; and it is a 
political city which symbolizes the national aspirations of Israelis and 
Palestinians. Resolving the issue of Jerusalem means dealing with all 
three of these dimensions in a way that harms no one's interests and 
promotes the interests of all. And I believe it can be done.
    Q.  The Camp David summit was a landmark in terms of tackling for 
the first time the core issues, and at the same time it did not produce 
the hoped-for final agreement. Are you worried that reducing your 
personal involvement in the process would lead to a speedy deterioration 
of the situation?
    The President. One of the remarkable aspects of the Camp David 
experience was that Israelis and Palestinians engaged on the core issues 
in an unprecedented manner. They broke taboos and discussed issues 
seriously and not on the basis of mere rhetoric and slogans. I am ready 
to do my part. To do so effectively, both sides will need to be ready to 
make historic decisions and, on the most sensitive issues, recognize 
that both must be satisfied.

Confidentiality of the Peace Process

    Q.  Did you receive a letter from Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat 
recently? What can you tell us about it?
    The President. One of the reasons Arabs and Israelis continue to 
look to the United States for help is that we protect their confidences. 
I have great respect for Chairman Arafat, and I'm sure you understand 
that I'm not going to start now by talking publicly about letters either 
from him or Prime Minister Barak.

Further Negotiations

    Q. Are you willing to issue an unconditional invitation for Arafat 
and Prime Minister Barak to come to Washington and give peace another 
    The President. I'm willing to do anything if it will help Israelis 
and Palestinians reach an agreement. At the same time, I know that the 
two sides need to reflect on what happened at Camp David and work 
together. Without an Israeli-Palestinian foundation on the substance of 
the issues, the United States cannot play its role effectively. That 
process got a big boost at Camp David. It needs to be continued now. 
Both leaders must be ready to make historic decisions.

[[Page 1857]]

Egypt's Role in the Peace Process

    Q.  There has been criticism of Egypt's role. What is your view?
    The President. The fact is that all that has happened since the 
original Camp David in September 1978, including Madrid and Oslo, is a 
vindication of the courageous and visionary policy of Egypt. Egypt was a 
pioneer for peace and continues to be a key partner for the United 
States. We agree on the fundamentals of the peace process, and we will 
not be able to reach an Israeli-Palestinian agreement on these core 
issues without close consultation with Egypt. We are engaged in such a 
process today.

Note: The responses referred to Chairman Yasser Arafat of the 
Palestinian Authority and Prime Minister Ehud Barak of Israel. The 
questions and answers were released by the Office of the Press Secretary 
on August 11. This item was not received in time for publication in the 
appropriate issue.

[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

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