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US Letter




September 4, 1999

Mr. Yasir Arafat
Executive Committee of the
Palestine Liberation Organization

Dear Mr. Chairman :
I want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for your efforts to conclude the Sharm al-sheikh Memorandum of Implementation Timeline of Outstanding Commitments of Agreements signed and the Resumption of Permanent Status Negotiations (the Memorandum).  You can be assured that we will continue to maintain the positions and polices communicated to you in connection with the conclusion of the Wye River Memorandum, as well as those stated in President Clinton’s letter of April 26, 1999.  In regard to the Memorandum, I wanted to convey the following.
First, it is our understanding that the implementation of the outstanding commitments emanating from the Memorandum will proceed as agreed upon and scheduled regardless of developments in the negotiations related to permanent status issues.  In this regard, we have also been informed by Prime Minister Barak that Israel will implement the further redeployment called for in Article 2 ( c ) of  the Memorandum even if the parties have not concluded the framework agreement called for in Article 1 ( c) by the time.
Second, Prime Minister Barak has assured us he will spare no effort to achieve a permanent status agreement within one year. We understand that you too will spare no effort to reach an agreement.  It is also our intention to do whatever we can to facilitate the achievement of the permanent status agreement within the timeframe specified in the Memorandum (i. e. by September 13, 2000).
Third, we understand that the language of Article 10 of the agreement is taken directly from the Wye River Memorandum section entitled “Unilateral Actions.”   In this regard, we note
That Israelis and Palestinians have committed themselves to using negotiations to resolve all outstanding issues and to reaching a comprehensive permanent status agreement within one year.  In order for these negotiations to succeed on such an accelerated basic it is essential to create the right, environment.  In this regard, as good faith negotiations proceed neither side should take unilateral actions that undermine the environment.

Fourth, we are conscious of your concerns about settlement activity.  As President Clinton has Written to you in the past the United States knows how destructive settlement activity has been to the pursuit of Palestinian – Israeli peace.

Finally, as President Clinton wrote you on April 26, 1999, we believe that negotiations are the only realistic way to fulfill the aspirations of your people.   In this context, and in President Clinton’s words, “we support the aspirations of the Palestinian people to determine their own future on their own land.” With the resumption of the permanent status negotiations under this Memorandum, you will have an opportunity to achieve your aspirations.

Madeleine k. Albright

© 2005 Palestinian American Council