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U.S. Secretary of State, Egyptian Foreign Minister Hold Press Briefing on Talks with Mubarak and Arafat

Aired October 5, 2000 - 7:36 a.m. ET


LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, I want to take you now over to Egypt. We're looking now and listening to a press conference, which is just getting underway. This is in Sharm El-Sheikh, a resort area in Egypt. And you can see there Secretary of State -- U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and she is joined there by Amr Moussa, who is the Egyptian foreign minister. They are now talking about the talks underway in Egypt now between Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Madeleine Albright.

AMR MOUSSA, EGYPTIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: The situation is indeed serious in the territories, in the occupied territories, and the atmosphere is getting worse, which will not help -- which does not help the peace process.

However, we are sure that working together with the American sponsor of the peace process with us, with the Europeans, we would at the end save the process and restore calm. But this requires that all provocative actions, such as the one Ariel Sharon undertook and caused all the repercussions and these sad events in the territories. We need that those kind of provocative actions cease to exist and not to be repeated.

We need the talks to resume. We need a fair settlement to be achieved. And there is agreement on this plan by all of us.

I wish to welcome the Secretary -- Secretary Madeleine Albright and to tell her that we were impressed by her determination and insistence to move ahead and to save the process.

You have the floor, madame.

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, SECRETARY OF STATE: Thank you very much, Mr. Foreign Minister, and good afternoon. I'm very pleased to be back in Sharm and to have this opportunity to consult with President Mubarak and Foreign Minister Moussa, and to have a trilateral meeting with Chairman Arafat.

During my last visit to this beautiful place in September it was the middle of the night, so it is very nice to actually be able to see it, and to have the opportunity again, as we did then, to work with President Mubarak. And at that stage, we worked together closely to help the Israelis and the Palestinians reach the Sharm El-Sheikh agreement. And Egypt and the United States will continue to work as partners in the common goal of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

As all of you know, I have just arrived from Paris, where I engaged in a series of intensive bilateral and trilateral meetings with Chairman Arafat and Prime Minister Barak. In recent days, the Palestinians and Israelis have gone through an extremely volatile and tragic period.

There have been too many funerals, too much sorrow, too many tears shed, and too many lives shattered. A way must be found to put an end to the bloodshed, the violence, the victims and the pain. And I offer my personal condolences to the families of all those who have lost loved ones. This cannot be the future for the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Yesterday's meetings were designed to try to break the tragic cycle of recent days and to begin to make the difficult transition from the psychology of confrontation to the psychology of peace making. This will not be an easy journey, but Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat made clear to me their commitment to find a way out of the tragic circumstances in which they are now caught up.

Both leaders have agreed that they will work actively to end the violence, maintain calm and to ensure that there is no recurrence. They have each issued orders to ensure these objectives are met, and it is essential to see a new reality created on the ground.

For our part, President Clinton has already announced that the parties have agreed that the United States will chair a trilateral security committee to facilitate the process of security cooperation. And CIA Director Tenet took part in the Paris discussions and will remain involved in this effort.

The two leaders also agreed that there is no place in the peace process for violence and that negotiations are the only way to achieve their objectives. Clearly, the road to a permanent status agreement will be extremely difficult, but the negotiations at Camp David created a unique opportunity to end conflict and that opportunity must not be lost.

Both leaders agree that they want to accelerate that process in an effort to determine whether the gaps can be bridged. President Clinton and I will do everything possible to assist the Israelis and Palestinians in their efforts. And working closely with President Mubarak and Prime Minister Moussa, we can hopefully move forward toward a permanent status agreement.

We know how important it is to build a bridge between where we are and where we need to be. In that regard, there needs to be a fact-finding committee that looks at causes of this crisis, what has gone wrong, and how we can ensure that it never happens again. We discussed some ideas and we will continue to work on that subject.

Thank you.

HARRIS: You've been listening to the opening of a press conference there at the Sharm El-Sheikh resort in Egypt. You can see there U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright joined there by Amr Moussa, Egyptian foreign minister, talking about discussions that have been taking place this morning, trilateral discussions this morning between Albright and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat.

These meetings this morning have been amounting to basically a high-level brainstorming session. They've been talking about the past week of violence in Israel and in the Gaza Strip, and they have said that what happens now -- what is required now is that all provocative actions must cease and not be repeated, that statement made by the Egyptian foreign minister, who also made reference to the visit by Ariel Sharon to that holy site in Israel, which was the flashpoint for all the violence in that region.

We'll have more coverage of this throughout the day.



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