THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AND HIS MAJESTY KING ABDULLAH OF JORDAN IN PHOTO OPPORTUNITY The Colonnade
10:40 A.M. EDT
Q Mr. President, are you encouraged that the talks will be moving back to Washington now, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. And Secretary Albright, I think, has had a good trip out there. I mean, we're working at it, and I'm encouraged. You know it's not going to be easy, but I'm encouraged.
I would like to say a special word of thanks to His Majesty for the commitment he's shown to peace, and also to reform within his own country, and rebuilding the economy of Jordan. I have enormous respect for his leadership, and great gratitude for the strength of our partnership, which he has continued. So I am delighted that he is here.
And he's coming at a good time. We have a lot to discuss today.
Q Mr. President, will you announce a free trade agreement with Jordan, or the beginning of negotiations towards that end?
THE PRESIDENT: I think we'll have a good announcement on the trade issue. And I think it's important. I'm excited about -- we have to discuss it, and we want to make sure that we're clear and in agreement on all the essential points. I think we are, and I'm encouraged. I think it's a very good thing to do.
Q Mr. President, what's the outlook for a Camp David-style summit?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I want to wait until Secretary Albright gets back. As you know, I saw Prime Minister Barak when I was in Europe, and I'm going to see Mr. Arafat, Chairman Arafat, I think about a week from tomorrow, something like that -- soon, anyway. And of course, His Majesty and I are going to talk today. So after that, we'll make some decisions about what to do next.
But you know, we're down now to the difficult issues, and to the difficult decisions. And those of us who are not charged with making them, but are charged with helping them get made, just have to try to create the best possible environment. I'll do whatever I can. I have for over seven years, and I'll continue to do that.
Q Your Majesty, do you foresee any possibility for resuming talks between Israel and Syria?
KING ABDULLAH: Well, we have a series of discussions about the peace process in the next half an hour, so we'll see what comes out of that.
Q Your Majesty, would you say that both parties -- both the Palestinians and the Israelis, need to maybe limit their expectations in these talks? There's a lot of talk now on the Palestinian side, people are recommending to the Palestinians to go for it all and get everything, 100 percent, the same way that Lebanon did.
KING ABDULLAH: There are healthy discussions between President Arafat and the Prime Minister, and we have to give them the benefit of the doubt and see what unfolds in the next week or so.
Q But do you expect either side to get everything they want, or will -- would you suggest that maybe the Palestinians will only get 90 percent, or 90-something percent, of the West Bank? Or do you expect them to get everything?
KING ABDULLAH: Well, I've been told by an old friend of mine that the best solution is one that both sides are a bit unhappy with, which means that both sides have had to give up something. And I think that when we look at final status, both sides have to be very open-minded about the other people's positions.
Q Mr. President, Jordan will face several challenges from final status peace talks, including refugees and water. Will the U.S. offer support -- financial, moral support, et cetera -- towards us?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think to have any kind of complete agreement on this, there has to be a provision made for dealing with the refugee problems, including some sort of fund, international fund, which would deal with the financial burdens of the displaced refugees everywhere, including Jordan. That's what I'm in favor of. Thank you.
END 10:43 A.M. EDT