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Tuesday, 17 October, 2000, 15:25 GMT 16:25 UK
The Sharm el-Sheikh agreement
President Cllinton in Sharm el-Sheikh
Mr Clinton warned all to have no illusions
President Bill Clinton delivered the full text of the fragile ceasefire agreement reached in the Egyptian town of Sharm el-Sheikh in a sombre atmosphere. Here is the full text of his address to press:

First of all, I want to thank President Mubarak and his able team for making it possible for us to have the meeting that we have held in this magnificent and beautiful place.

I especially want to thank President Mubarak for Egypt's insistent and pivotal partnership in the peace process and for playing a critical role in our efforts here. I also want to thank His Majesty King Abdullah for his steadfast leadership for peace, which again was in evidence.

I would like to thank the EU high commissioner, Javier Solana, my longtime friend, who worked with me to bring an end to violence in the Balkans and now is working in the Middle East.

And especially I want to thank Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who has been here now in the region for more than a week and who has worked tirelessly to bring an end of violence and to make this meeting possible.

Prime Minister Barak listening to President Clinton at Sharma-el-Sheikh
Barak pull troops back

But of course the greatest credit for the progress that we have made today belongs to Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat, who have had to overcome the difficulties of these last several days.

And we all recognise that theirs was the primary decision to make.

Tough negotiations

Our meeting has not been easy because the last two weeks have been so hard, a tragic and terrible confrontation costing many lives and injuries, threatening everything that we have worked to achieve between Israelis and Palestinians and throughout the region over the past seven years now.

Even as we meet the situation in the territories remains tense. Yesterday again was violent. This is a reminder of the urgency of breaking the cycle of violence. I believe we have made real progress today.

Chairman Arafat
Arafat to declare end to the violence

Repairing the damage will take time and great effort by all of us. When we leave here today, we will have to work hard to consolidate what we have agreed.

Let me summarise what has been agreed so there will be no misunderstanding.

Our primary objective has been to end the current violence so we can begin again to resume our efforts towards peace.


The leaders have agreed on three basic objectives and steps to realise them:

First, both sides have agreed to issue public statements unequivocally calling for an end of violence.

They also agreed to take immediate, concrete measures to end the current confrontation, eliminate points of friction, ensure an end of violence and incitement, maintain calm and prevent recurrence of recent events.

To accomplish this, both sides will act immediately to return the situation to that which existed prior to the current crisis in areas such as restoring law and order, redeployment of forces, eliminating points of friction, enhancing security co-operation and ending the closure and opening the Gaza airport.

The United States will facilitate security co-operation between the parties as needed.

Second, the United States will develop with the Israelis and Palestinians, as well as in consultation with the United Nations secretary-general, a committee of fact finding on the events of the past several weeks and how to prevent their recurrence.

The committee's report will be chaired by the US president with the UN secretary-general and the parties prior to publication.

A final report should be submitted on the auspices of the US president for publication.

Third, if we are to address the underlying roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there must be a pathway back to negotiations and the resumption of efforts to reach a permanent status agreement based on the UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and subsequent understandings.

Towards this end the leaders have agreed that the United States would consult with the parties within the next two weeks about how to move forward.

Words of caution

We have made important commitments here today against the backdrop of tragedy and crisis.

We should have no illusions about the difficulties ahead. If we are going to rebuild confidence and trust we must all do our part, avoiding recrimination and moving forward.

I am counting on each of us to do everything we possibly can in the critical period ahead.

I am sure it will be a disappointment to some of you but one of the things that all the leaders agreed was that our statement should stand on its own, and we should begin by promoting reconciliation and avoiding conflict by forgoing questions today.

Thank you very much.

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See also:

16 Oct 00 | Middle East
Clashes claim Palestinian lives
14 Oct 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
Only pain uniting the divided
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