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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 26, 1994
                         Wadi Araba Crossing
                        Jordan-Israel Border

KING HUSSEIN: Peace be upon you. God's peace. The greeting with which Muslims and Arabs receive their guests, exchange amongst each other; the greeting that has been taken to every part of the world over a long and cherished history and past.

It is with a sense of enormous pride, a sense of fulfillment, that I stand here before you today, together with President Clinton, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, President Weizman and all our distinguished colleagues and friends -- an unusual day, a day like no other in terms of the hopes, in terms of the promise and in terms of the determination.

God willing and with God's blessing of us all to remember this day as long as we live and for future generations -- Jordanians, Israelis, Arabs, Palestinians -- all children of Abraham, to remember it as the dawning of the new era of peace, mutual respect between us all, tolerance and the coming together of people of generations to come, we understand, to build and achieve what is worthy of them.

We will always cherish the memory and honor all those who have fallen over the years. And amongst all of our peoples I believe they are with us on this occasion and at this time, as we come together to ensure, God willing, that there will be no more death, no more misery, nor more suspicion, no more fear, no more uncertainty of what each day might bring, as has been the case in the past. (Applause).

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and I had the honor of signing the Washington Declaration with President Clinton, our partner and our friend. (Applause.) And we took it upon us, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and myself, to shepherd the process of negotiations to a successful conclusion. I believe that both of us share in this moment of achievement and pride and relief, and hopefully, we have contributed towards a better future of our peoples for all times to come. (Applause.)

The Prime Minister of Israel and the Prime Minister of Jordan will shortly ratify the peace treaty between our two countries. This will be witnessed by President Clinton. In a matter of days, we will have completed in Jordan the passage of this peace treaty through the legislature. I, who have accompanied my colleagues throughout this process -- Prime Minister Majali since Madrid, my brother Crown Prince Hassan and every Jordanian who has been involved -- and honored to be involved -- in this peace process fully support every word and every letter in this peace process between Jordan and Israel. (Applause.)

I know it is supported by the overwhelming majority of our people, who have learned today of its passage to the Knesset by an overwhelming majority. These are the moments in which we live -- the past and the future. This great valley in which we stand will become the valley of peace. (Applause.)

And when we come together to build it and to make it bloom as never before, and we come to live next to each other as never before, we will be doing so, Israelis and Jordanians together -- (applause) -- without the need for any to observe our actions or supervise our endeavors. This is peace with dignity. This is peace with commitment. This is our gift to our peoples and the generations to come. (Applause.)

It will herald the change in the quality of life in people. It will not be essentially a piece of paper ratified by those responsible, blessed by the world. It will be real, as we open our hearts and minds to each other; as we discover a human face to everything that has happened, and to each other, for all of us have suffered for far too long.

President Clinton, you have been our partner. You have been our friend. You have given us your support, together with the administration of the United States of America. You are at the helm during this historic moment. I will always remember the warmth of your welcome to us both in Washington, and the warmth of the welcome of the people of the United States of America with which they received our news and lauded our achievements.

No one will ever forget this day. And in particular, they will always remember the fact that you personally came to be with us here on this most happy of occasions, at the end of a chapter of darkness and the opening of a book of light. (Applause.)

I am proud of our friendship. God bless you and give you every future success. And maybe the world needs some good examples of what should happen between people. (Applause.) And hopefully, this might herald similar progress not only on all the tracks here in this region, because we are all committed to a comprehensive peace -- we wish it, and hopefully, it will be -- but throughout the world. The world that is the home of all of us, that in itself is so small, where so much needs to be addressed and met for humanity and for the future.

Behind us here you see Eliat and Aqaba, the way we have lived over the years, in such close proximity, unable to meet, to visit each other, to develop this beautiful part of the world. No more, as we look into the future beyond this point with determination, with hope, with commitment. We survived the hard times. Let our people beyond this point in time enjoy the good times.

I would like to thank all our friends, all our distinguished guests who join us here today -- representatives of President Yeltsin, Foreign Minister of Russia; distinguished foreign ministers; our Arab presidents of our Arab homeland; our guests from throughout the world, our friends. And a very happy welcome to all of your Jordanians and Israelis, alike, at this very precious moment. God bless you all. (Applause.)

PRIME MINISTER RABIN: Your Majesty, King Hussein the First; President Clinton; President Weizman; the foreign ministers of our countries; distinguished guests from all over the world; the peoples of Jordan and Israel. From this podium, I look around and I see the Araba. Along the horizon, from the Jordanian side and the Israeli side, I see only a desert. There is almost no life here, there is no water, no wells and not a spring -- only mine fields.

Such were the relations between Israel and Jordan during the last 47 years, a desert -- not one green leaf, no trees, not even a single flower. There comes a time when there is a need to be strong and to make courageous decisions to overcome the mine fields, the drought, the bareness between our two peoples.

We have known many days of sorrow; you have known many days of grief. But bereavement unites us as does bravery. And we honor those who sacrificed their lives. We both must draw on the springs of our great spiritual resources to forgive the anguish we caused each other, to clear the mine fields that divided us for so many years, and to supplant it with fields of plenty.

For nearly two generations, desolation pervaded the heart of our two peoples. The time has now come not merely to dream of a better future, but to realize it. Leaders should clear the path, should show the way. But the road itself must be paved by both peoples; I don't believe that we would have reached this great moment without the desire for peace in the hearts of both peoples; in the hearts of the soldiers and the intellectuals; in the hearts of the farmers and of the lorry drivers who drive through the Araba highways in Jordan and Israel; in the hearts of teachers and of the little children. Both nations were determined that the great revolution in the Middle East would take place in their generation.

From this podium, I look around and I see the Araba, and I see you, our generation and the next. We are the ones who will transform this barren place into a fertile oasis, that the red-browns and the dark grey will burst forth in vibrant greens.

Your Majesty, peace between states is peace between peoples. It is an expression of trust and esteem. I have learned to know and admire the quiet and the smiling power with which you guard your nation, and the courage with which you lead your people. (Applause.)

It is not only our states that are making peace with each other today; not only our nations that are shaking hands in peace here in the Araba. You and I, your Majesty, are making peace here -- our own peace, the peace of soldiers and the peace of friends. (Applause.)

President Clinton, thank you for your tremendous support throughout the entire process which was vital for the achievement of this final result. I would like to thank many (GARBLED WORD) on the Israeli side, on the Jordanian side that worked very hard, day and night, that we will be allowed to reach this great moment -- the Foreign Minister of Israel -- and many others that no doubt contributed a lot to this great achievement.

A dawn broke this morning and a new day began. New life came into the world. Babies were born in Jerusalem; babies were born in Amman. But this morning is different. To the peace that was born today gives us all the hope that the children born today will never know war between us and their mothers will know no sorrow. (Applause.)

Allow me to end by the simple words, Shalom, Salaam (GARBLED WORD). (Applause.)

PRESIDENT CLINTON: King Hussein, President Weizman, Prime Minister Rabin, Prime Minister Majali, Crown Prince Hassan, Foreign Minister Peres, Foreign Minister Kozyrev, Mr. Secretary of State; to the people of Jordan and Israel -- with a special thanks to those who are our cheering section up there -- (laughter) -- we thank you all. (Applause.)

At the dawn of this peace of a generation, in this ancient place we celebrate the history and the faith of Jordanians and Israelis. But we break the chains of the past that for too long have kept you shackled in the shadows of strife and suffering. We thank those who have worked for peace before. We celebrate the efforts of brace leaders who saw the bright horizon of this dawn, even while the darkness lingered.

This vast bleached desert hides great signs of life. Today we see the proof of it, for peace between Jordan and Israel is no longer a mirage. It is real. It will take root in this soil. It will grow to great heights and shelter generations to come.

Today we honor the constant and devoted work of two courageous leaders, two who have risked everything so that their children and their children's children need fight nor fear no more.

King Hussein, today in this arid place, you bring to full flower the memory of the man who taught you to seek peace, your grandfather, King Abudllah. (Applause.) When he was martyred four decades ago, he left you with a great burden and a great dream. He believed that one day, on both sides of the River Jordan, Arab and Jew would live in peace. How bravely you have shouldered that burden and carried that dream. Now after so much danger and so much hardship, Your Majesty, your day has come. Truly, you have fulfilled your grandfather's legacy.

Prime Minster Rabin, you have spent a lifetime as a soldier, fighting first to establish your country and then for so long, to defend it. For a lifetime, you have fought with skill and tenacity and courage, simply to achieve a secure and lasting peace for your people. Now you have given them the hope of life after the siege. In your own words, you have now given them the challenge to furnish the house of Israel and make it a home. As a general, you have won many battles through strength and courage. But now, through strength and courage, you command the army of peace, and you have won the greatest victory of all. We salute you. (Applause.)

As has been said before, this treaty is the product of many hands. Crown Prince Hassan and Foreign Minister Peres know better than any of us that spring -- that peace does not spring full-grown. It requires cultivation; it requires patience and care. We salute their devotion and persistence, and the wise and determined counsel of Secretary Christopher. We are in all their debt, and we thank them. (Applause.)

I say to the people of Israel and Jordan, now you must make this peace real; to turn no-man's land into every man's home; to take down the barbed wire; to remove the deadly mines; to help the wounds of war to heal. Open your borders, open your hearts -- peace is more than an agreement on paper. It is feeling; it is activity; it is devotion.

The forces of terror will try to hold you back. Already they take deadly aim at the future of peace. In their zeal to kill hope and keep hatred alive, they would deny all that peace can bring to your children. We cannot, we must not, we will not let them succeed. (Applause.)

The United States stands with you. Since President Truman first recognized Israel, we have wished for and worked for comprehensive peace between Israel and all her neighbors. On behalf of all Americans, including million of Jewish and Arab Americans for whom this day means so much, I thank you for trusting America to help you arrive at this moment. The American people are very proud of the opportunity we have had. (Applause.)

And now let the work of progress bear fruit. Here at the first of many crossing points to be open, people from every corner of the earth will soon come to share in the wonders of your lands. There are resources to be found in the desert; minerals to be drawn from the sea; water to be separated from salt and used to fertilize the fields. Here where slaves in ancient times were forced to take their chisels to the stone, the earth, as the Koran says, will stir and swell and bring forth life. The desert, as Isiah prophesied, shall rejoice and blossom.

Here your people will drink water from the same well and savor together the fruit of the vine. As you seize this moment, be assured that you will redeem every life sacrificed along the long road that brought us to this day. You will take the hatred out of hearts and you will pass along to your children a peace for the generations.

Your Majesty; Mr. Prime Minister, here in the Rift Valley you have bridged the tragic rift that separated your people for too long. Here in this region, which is the home of not only both of your faiths, but mine, I say, blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall inherit the Earth.

2:06 P.M. (L)