[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[January 29, 1998]
[Pages 136-137]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Videotaped Remarks on Id al-Fitr
January 29, 1998

    On behalf of all Americans, I want to extend my personal greetings 
to the entire Muslim community in the United States and around the world 
as you celebrate the Id al-Fitr.
    This week marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. It's a time 
for rejoicing and celebration, a time of family and community. It is 
also a time for reflection and for recommitting ourselves to the values 
of tolerance, mutual respect, and understanding. In a world where many 
Muslims suffer the terrible consequences of war, poverty, and unrest, we 
must renew our efforts to resolve conflicts and remove the causes of 
    The United States is determined to do all it can to bring a just, 
lasting, and comprehensive peace to the Middle East. As I told Chairman 
Arafat, Palestinians should be allowed to 
realize their aspirations to live as a free people, and Israelis should 
be able to live in security, recognized by all their neighbors. Our goal 
is to help the people of the region end this age-old conflict and to 
give their children the future of hope and promise they deserve.
    Today our sympathies are with the people of Algeria and Afghanistan, 
who have endured too much suffering, and we pray that a time of healing 
will soon come for them. We are also deeply concerned by the hardships 
that afflict the people of Iraq, and we will continue working within the 
United Nations so that they receive the food and medicine they need.
    To the people of Iran, I would like to say that the United States 
regrets the estrangement of our two nations. Iran is an important 
country with a rich and ancient cultural heritage of

[[Page 137]]

which Iranians are justifiably proud. We have real differences with some 
Iranian policies, but I believe these are not insurmountable. I hope 
that we have more exchanges between our peoples and that the day will 
soon come when we can enjoy once again good relations with Iran.
    Let me say to the Muslims of South Asia, I look forward to visiting 
your region later this year and to deepening the bonds between the 
United States and the peoples of the subcontinent.
    On this occasion, let us rekindle our commitment to the cause of 
peace among all the peoples of the Earth. If we are dedicated in our 
belief and constant in our labor, we can build a better future, one of 
cooperation, understanding, and compassion for ourselves and for 
generations to come.
    As the new moon ushers in this holy celebration, let me say to all 
who follow the faith of Islam: As-Salaamu alaykum. May peace be with 
you, and may God grant you health and prosperity, now and in the years 

Note: These remarks were videotaped at approximately 6 p.m. on January 
23 in the Cabinet Room at the White House for later broadcast on the 
U.S. Information Agency WORLDNET, and they were released by the Office 
of the Press Secretary on January 29. In his remarks, the President 
referred to Chairman Yasser Arafat of the Palestinian Authority.