[Congressional Record Volume 142, Number 14 (Thursday, February 1, 1996)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E133-E134]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                          HON. ELIOT L. ENGEL

                              of new york

                    in the house of representatives

                      Wednesday, January 31, 1996

  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, in a very succinct and incisive interview 
with Middle East Insight president and editor George Nader in the 
magazine's 15th anniversary issue in December President Clinton 
articulated his vision for the future of the Middle East and for 
American interests in the region. The President said, ``We want to see 
the establishment of a peaceful and prosperous region in which all 
nations and people can live in freedom and security.''
  Real progress made in the Middle East peace process under the Clinton 
administration has been unprecedented. As the Israeli-Syrian talks 
continue to move ahead, and our attention remains focused on further 
process toward lasting peace in the Middle East, I commend the entire 
interview to my colleagues.

          [From Middle East Insight, November-December, 1995]

              Interview With President William J. Clinton

                          (By George A. Nader)

       In this 15th Anniversary issue, President Bill Clinton 
     gives an exclusive interview about U.S. interests in the 
     Middle East to Middle East Insight editor George A. Nader. 
     This interview is a follow-up to President Clinton's first 
     interview with Middle East Insight as President-elect.
       President Clinton's term in office has been marked by 
     historic agreements between Israel and the PLO, a formal 
     peace treaty between Israel and Jordan, ongoing negotiations 
     under U.S. auspices between Israel and Syria and Lebnanon, 
     and continued enforcement of dual containment of Iraq and 
     Iran. President Clinton had developed a warm and productive 
     relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin before 
     his assassination last November, and will now be working 
     closely with his successor, Shimon Peres, on many vital areas 
     of interest to the United States in the Middle East.
       We are privileged to have President Clinton share his views 
     below on these subjects as well as his vision for the future 
     of the region.

       Q:  Mr. President, as spiral of violence in the Middle 
     East, capped by the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister 
     Yitzhak Rabin, has challenged the peace process. What are 
     your thoughts about the impact of this assassination on the 
     state of the peace process?
       A:  The tragic death of Prime Minister Rabin was an attempt 
     to stop the historic progress which has been made toward a 
     comprehensive and lasting settlement of the Arab-Israeli 
     conflict. But the reaction in Israel, the Middle East, and 
     around the world to this crime demonstrates the 
     marginalization of those who would use violence to achieve 
     their ends and the overwhelming support which exists for the 
     peace process. The world lost a great man and I--along with 
     all Americans--a great friend in Yitzhak Rabin. A champion of 
     his nation in conflict, he became a hero for reconciliation 

[[Page E134]]
     and understanding as well. His life paralleled that of the Middle East 
     in his time: he fought tirelessly for the security and 
     prosperity of his people, and then turned that same strength 
     and wisdom to forging a peace that would ensure that this 
     security and prosperity would live on after him.
       His death reminds us all that the cost of leadership is 
     sometimes very high. But his life serves as an example for 
     what can be achieved through courage and determination to do 
     what is right. The tributes paid to Prime Minister Rabin by 
     King Hussein, President Mubarak, and other leaders from the 
     region and around the world have been mirrored in the 
     unprecedented outpouring of support expressed by the people 
     of Israel for his living legacy, the pursuit of a just and 
     enduring peace of all the people of the Middle East. I am 
     committed to continue doing all I can to ensure that this 
     goal is realized.
       Q:  What is your view of the importance of Palestinian 
     economic development to the success of the peace process?
       A:  We agree that Palestinian economic development is a key 
     ingredient in building a lasting peace. It is essential that 
     the Palestinian people see that the peace process has 
     produced tangible benefits in their daily lives, that their 
     future--and that of their children--has changed for the 
     better because of the decision to pursue dialogue and 
     reconciliation over confrontation. Since October 1993, the 
     United States has taken the lead in mobilizing the 
     international donor effort to support the Palestinian 
     Authority and to help provide the foundations for a better 
     and more prosperous life for the Palestinian people.
       The United States has met fully its pledge of $100 million 
     per year in assistance and we are encouraging other donors to 
     ensure that their aid commitments are fulfilled as rapidly as 
     possible. In order to help the Palestinian Authority meet its 
     responsibilities under the Interim Agreement and to move 
     forward on infrastructure development projects critical to 
     the building of a vibrant economy, we are a major organizer 
     of the Conference on Assistance to the Palestinians to be 
     held in Europe this December.
       In addition to our leading role in the international donor 
     effort, we are also working to improve the environment for 
     private sector economic growth and investment. We are 
     discussing with Israel and the Palestinians the possible 
     establishment of industrial zones, as well as ways in which 
     Israel's justifiable security concerns can be addressed 
     consistent with our shared desire to promote development of 
     the Palestinian economy. Consistent with our desire to 
     promote Palestinian entrepreneurship, US Trade Representative 
     Kantor has recently announced an agreement to extend duty-
     free treatment to Palestinian goods entering the United 
       Q:  With the recent imposition of Presidential sanctions on 
     Iran, US-Iranian relations have reached a new low. What are 
     the prospects for the success of sanctions on Iran and what 
     is the potential value of a dialogue with Iran?
       A:  Our problem is not with the people of Iran; it is with 
     the unacceptable behavior of the Iranian government: direct 
     and indirect support for and use of terror; subversion of 
     states friendly to the United States; military intimidation 
     of its neighbors; and acquisition of weapons and technologies 
     of mass destruction--including nuclear.
       The Executive Order I signed earlier this year, imposing a 
     complete ban on US financial and commercial dealings with 
     Iran, is intended to demonstrate our resolve that Tehran pay 
     a price for continuing its threatening activities. To be 
     fully successful, we need the support of Iran's other trading 
     partners in Europe, Asia, and around the world. We are urging 
     them to follow our example and help ensure that sustained and 
     meaningful economic pressure is brought to bear until the 
     behavior of the Iranian government changes.
       While we are prepared to have a dialogue with authoritative 
     representatives of the government of Iran at any time, it 
     must be made clear that normal relations cannot exist until 
     such time as Iran ceases its objectionable activities.
       Q:  UN economic sanctions have been imposed on Iraq for 
     five years now. While the sanctions seem to have checked the 
     military capabilities of Saddam Hussein, he still remains in 
     power and the Iraqi people suffer. How successful can 
     sanctions be?
       A.  The United States is committed to the maintenance of 
     sanctions against Iraq until Baghdad complies fully with all 
     its UN Security Council obligations. Recent revelations by 
     Iraqi defectors and the work of UN inspectors provide 
     compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has consistently 
     attempted to deceive the United Nations. They also show that 
     as recently as last summer, Saddam was planning new threats 
     against his neighbors.
       We are deeply concerned about the humanitarian plight of 
     Iraqi people. But there must be no doubt that Saddam is 
     responsible for their suffering. He has refused to avail 
     himself of the opportunity under UNSC resolutions to sell oil 
     to pay for food and medicine, preferring to divert resources 
     to his supporters and military and to use his own people as 
     hostages in the pursuit of international sympathy for lifting 
     of the sanctions.
       Sanctions are the primary means available to the 
     international community to compel Iraqi compliance with 
     Security Council resolutions and to ensure that Iraq does not 
     again become a threat to the region. Given Saddam Hussein's 
     track record, the Council has a responsibility to hold him to 
     the highest possible standard. With respect to the future of 
     Saddam Hussein and his regime, that is a matter for the Iraqi 
     people alone to decide.
       Q.  As you are involved in the peace process, and as the 
     region undergoes important changes, what is your vision for 
     the future of the Middle East and for America's interests 
       A.  Our vision for the future of the Middle East is a 
     simple one. We want to see the establishment of a peaceful 
     and prosperous region in which all nations and peoples can 
     live in freedom and security.
       There is much work still before us, but we are making real 
     progress toward our goal. The peace process has made 
     unprecedented advances in the last two years, and despite the 
     loss of one of its greatest champions, it continues to gather 
     momentum. The enemies of peace such as Iran, Iraq, and Libya 
     are increasingly isolated. More and more regional governments 
     are recognizing that dialogue and reconciliation--and the 
     trade and development that accompany and reinforce peace--are 
     the best means of ensuring a better future for their nations. 
     The United States will continue to stand by those who take 
     risks for peace and work together with them to ensure that 
     our mutual vision is realized.