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Thursday, 20 July, 2000, 07:16 GMT 08:16 UK
Clinton statement: 'We must go the extra mile'
Bill Clinton
President Clinton: "There has been progress"
Before departing for the G8 summit in Japan President Clinton gave a press briefing about the state of the negotiations at Camp David. Here is the full text of his statement.

"As all of you know, for the past nine days we have been engaged in the most comprehensive and thorough negotiations ever between Palestinians and Israelis on the core issues of their 52-year conflict.

"The two parties have been making an intensive effort to resolve their differences over the most difficult issues.

"The gaps remain substantial. But there has been progress and we must all be prepared to go the extra mile.

Nobody wanted to give up

Bill Clinton
After a round of intensive consultations this evening, the parties agreed to stay at Camp David while I travel to Okinawa for the G8 summit.

"Mr. (Joe) Lockhart (the White House spokesman) will be able to fill you in on the details of how this occurred. I have to take the plane and I am running late but I do want to explain what happened.

Baton change

"During the time I am gone, Secretary (of State Madeleine) Albright will be working with the parties and will continue to try to close the gaps. Upon my return I will assess the status of the talks.

"There should be no illusions about the difficult task ahead, but there should be no limit to the effort we are prepared to make. These are, in fundamental ways, the hardest peace issues I have ever dealt with.

"But the short answer as to why we are still here after everybody thought we were through is that nobody wanted to give up.

"After all these years, as hard as these issues are, they don't want to give up.

"And I didn't think we should give up, and so we are still plugging away. But you should draw no inference on this. I will observe the news blackout on the details and will continue to do it but this is really, really hard."

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See also:

20 Jul 00 | Middle East
Mid-East peace struggle goes on
18 Jul 00 | Middle East
Adversaries fail to bond
18 Jul 00 | Middle East
Refugees: No place like home
19 Jul 00 | Middle East
Jerusalem: Difficult divisions
17 Jul 00 | Middle East
Analysis: Paying for peace
02 Jul 00 | Middle East
Palestinian statehood 'irreversible'
31 Jan 00 | Middle East
Jerusalem: Eternal, intractable
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