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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                           (Cologne, Germany)
For Immediate Release                                      June 18, 1999


Jerusalem Embassy Act Waiver

Today, the President exercised his waiver authority provided under the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. The President made this decision in order to protect our critical national security interests, most crucially in preserving the prospects for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace between Israel and its neighbors. The President took this action at this time because, absent the waiver, the Act would have denied the Department of State further access to funds necessary to protect our personnel and missions worldwide so they can continue to pursue vital U.S. objectives.

The pursuit of Israeli-Palestinian peace has been a consistent, objective of the United States under Republican and Democratic Administrations. Israelis and Palestinians have agreed to include Jerusalem among the issues to be covered in their permanent status negotiations. At a time when there is real potential for movement on the peace process, and as we look forward to the start of those crucial negotiations, the United States should not be taking steps of its own that prejudge those negotiations and make them more difficult. The differences that remain between Israelis and Palestinians can only be resolved through direct negotiations and the United States should do everything it possibly can to facilitate their success.

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