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ARAB-US RELATIONS - Aug. 10 - Clinton Sees Embassy In Palestinian Capital.

US Pres. Clinton is quoted as saying by 'Al Hayat' newspaper that he hopes to open a US embassy in the capital of a Palestinian state if Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are concluded by the end of 2000. Clinton says: "My hope is great that the Israeli and Palestinian sides will have reached [an agreement] by that time [end of 2000] and, with our help, an agreement on Jerusalem that meets their needs". He says: "Then I will also be able to inaugurate an American embassy in the capital of the Palestinian state". (Palestinians and Arabs regard East Jerusalem, captured by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 ME war, as the capital of a future Palestinian state. Israel sees the whole of Jerusalem as its capital. Jerusalem was the main obstacle to an agreement at peace talks at Camp David. Clinton indirectly blamed the collapse of the talks on Palestinian Pres. Arafat, saying he showed less flexibility than Israeli PM Barak.)

Clinton says: "[Jerusalem) is a unique problem requiring a unique solution", adding: "It is the municipality of a city like any other, with environmental, traffic and service problems. It is a spiritual city containing the values of 3 great religions and holding the holy religious places of the 3 religions. And it is a political city expressing the national aspirations of the Israelis and Palestinians". Clinton says: "A solution of the issue of Jerusalem means dealing with all of these 3 dimensions in a way that does not damage the interests of anyone and strengthens the interests of everyone. I believe that is possible". Clinton repeats his statement that he would review moving Washington's embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem at the end of 2000. Arab politicians interpret the comments as an effort to improve the Democratic Party's image with the Jewish vote in the US presidential elections in November. They say such a move could provoke a potentially explosive reaction in the Arab world. Asked about reports of US anger with Egypt over its support for Arafat's position on Jerusalem, Clinton says: "We can't reach an Israeli-Palestinian agreement on the basic issues without close consultation with Egypt". Clinton, whose presidency ends in January, says he is "ready to do anything" to reach an agreement, adding: "At the same time, I know both sides need time to think about what happened at Camp David".
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 12, 2000
Words:396
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