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Text of Carter’s Statement on Mideast

October 5, 1977
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The text of President Carter’s statement on the Middle East, which was a part of his address to the General Assembly, follows.

“Of all the regional conflicts in the world, none holds more menace than the Middle East. War there has carried the world to the edge of nuclear confrontation. It has disrupted the world economy and imposed severe hardships on the people in the developed and developing nations alike. So true peace–peace embodied in binding treaties–is essential.

“It will be in the interests of the Israelis and the Arabs. It is in the interest of the American people. It is in the interest of the entire world. The United Nations Security Council has provided the basis for peace in Resolutions 242 and 338 but negotiation in good faith by all parties is needed to give substance to peace.

“Such good faith negotiations must be inspired by a recognition that all nations in the area–Israel and the Arab countries–have a right to exist in peace, with early establishment of normal diplomatic relations, economic and cultural exchanges. Peace must include a process in which the bitter divisions of generations–hatreds and suspicions–can be overcome.

“Negotiations cannot be successful if any of the parties harbor the deceitful view that peace is simply an interlude in which to prepare for war. Good faith negotiations also require acceptance by all sides of the fundamental rights and interests of everyone involved.

“For Israel, this must mean borders that are recognized and secure. Security arrangements are crucial to a nation that has fought for its survival in each of the last four decades. The commitment of the United States to Israel’s security is unquestionable. For the Arabs, the legitimate rights of the Palestinians must be recognized. One of the things that binds the American people to Israel is our shared respect for human rights and the courage with which Israel has defended such rights. It is clear that a true and lasting peace in the Middle East must also respect the rights of all the peoples of the area. How these rights are to be redefined and implemented is, of course, for the interested parties to decide in negotiations, not for us to dictate. We do not intend to impose from the outside a settlement on the nations of the Middle East.

“The United States has been meeting with the foreign ministers of Israel and the Arab nations involved in the search for peace. We are staying in close contact with the Soviet Union with whom we share responsibility for reconvening the Geneva conference. As a result of these consultations, the Soviet Union and the United States have agreed to call for the resumption of the Geneva conference before the end of this year. While a number of procedural questions remain, if the parties continue to act in good faith, I believe they can be answered.”

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