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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 18, 1998
           US-EU Declaration on the Middle East Peace Process
                     Washington, December 18, 1998

The signature on October 23 of the Wye River Memorandum broke a dangerous deadlock in the Middle East and opened the perspective for new progress in the Peace Process. We welcome implementation of the first phase of the Memorandum by both sides. We call on the parties to implement fully the remaining obligations, and thereby contribute to rebuilding the confidence essential to the completion of the Peace Process begun at Madrid and Oslo.

We will work together, including through our respective envoys, in the political and economic area, to build on this achievement and to help the parties move the Peace Process forward to a successful conclusion. We will use our partnership to support the implementation of outstanding elements of the Interim Agreement. We will work for the early resumption of the Multilateral Track of the Process. We will also seek ways to help the parties in the Lebanese and Syrian tracks to restart negotiations with the aim of reaching a comprehensive settlement.

Alongside other participants at the November 30 Washington Conference to Support Middle East Peace and Development, we made significant additional pledges of economic assistance to the West Bank and Gaza for the next five years. Against this background, the U.S. and the EU will continue their leading roles in the Palestinian donor effort in order to ensure that international assistance translates into tangible improvements in the living conditions of the Palestinians, starting at the coming meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee in February in Germany.