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Special Event

President Clinton Comments on Violence in the Middle East

Aired October 2, 2000 - 3:52 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: We take you to the White House now, President Clinton commenting on the Middle East.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've talked to Chairman Arafat, I've talked to Prime Minister Barak. We've had virtually constant contact with them. I am convinced that they must do everything within their power to stop the violence, and I think they are now trying. And we're going to do everything we can.

We have, as you know from the statement I put out yesterday, we've offered some ideas and we've been working on this all day. So we'll just have to see if we make some more progress tomorrow morning over there. I think it will be better tomorrow.

QUESTION: Mr. President...

CLINTON: I hope it will.

QUESTION: On the debt relief issue, the holdup seems to be senators (OFF-MIKE). What can you offer them to get this moving?

CLINTON: Well, I don't know what else we can offer them but the evidence. But I think if we just keep working at it, we might get there. We have such a good, broad bipartisan group here that I think in the end that we'll be able to work it out with them are. And we're certainly working with them.

QUESTION: Mr. President, you've talked with the Israelis and Palestinians. Do you get the impression that the recent violence is helping them move along to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) or is it hurting them?

CLINTON: Well, in the short run, it's hurting them, because they can't do anything on the peace process until people stop dying and the violence stops. But when the smoke clears here, it might actually be a spur to both sides as a sober reminder to what the alternative to peace could be. So we have to hope and pray that'll be the result.

Thank you all very much.

WOODRUFF: President Clinton at the White House being asked by reporters. He was in a meeting on Third World debt, and he told reporters he had spoken with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders. He says at this point he doesn't know what is going to move this process along. But clearly, expressing distress, great regret at the state of affairs in the Middle East, where we've seen fighting for the last three, four, five days running, some 49 people dead, both Palestinians and Israelis. I'm sorry, 47, after several days of unrest.

I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. Now back to Bobbie Battista and "TALKBACK LIVE."

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