THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY
President Clinton's Meeting with Presidents Fujimori and Mahuad
President Clinton met this afternoon with Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori and Ecuadorian President Jamil Mahuad Witt to take an important step toward a final settlement of the long-standing border dispute between the two countries. The two Presidents, who have been in intense personal negotiations on this issue for the past several weeks, requested the meeting in order to help resolve their few remaining differences. President Clinton welcomed the opportunity to work with the two leaders in this historic effort to resolve the Hemisphere's last and oldest source of armed international conflict.
The Peru-Ecuador border dispute dates back to the colonial era, and has several times led to open conflict between the two countries, most recently in 1995. As one of four Guarantors to the 1942 Rio Protocol, the United States has actively worked with Brazil, Argentina and Chile to promote a final settlement. President Clinton has met several times with President Alberto Fujimori of Peru, and also with Ecuadorian Presidents Sixto Duran Ballen, Fabian Alarcon, and most recently with President Jamil Mahuad in this effort. Since 1995, the U.S. has provided peacekeepers to the region, and their steadfast work has contributed to breaking the impasse.
Peru and Ecuador have resolved most of the outstanding issues, but have not been able to agree upon portions of the land border. Accordingly, in today's meeting the two Presidents asked President Clinton for a proposal to resolve this issue. President Clinton will consult with the other Guarantors with a view to providing Peru and Ecuador with the requested proposal as soon as possible.
President Clinton expressed to the two Presidents his strong admiration for their personal commitment to the cause of peace. He also praised the particularly active role played by President Cardoso of Brazil, as the coordinator of Guarantor efforts. Peace between these two nations will be of great symbolic and practical value to the Hemisphere as a whole.
President Clinton concluded that a definitive border settlement between Peru and Ecuador will bring to a close this hemisphere's longest running source of armed conflict. It will allow Peru and Ecuador to benefit from the region's growing economic integration, and the Hemisphere to profit from their full participation. It will also set a positive example for others seeking to overcome historic animosities.
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