with Leaders of Jordan, Israel and Palestinian Authority
President George W. Bush
His Majesty King Abdullah of Jordan
Ariel Sharon of Israel
Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority
Beit al Bahar
June 4, 2003
3:30 P.M. (Local)
KING ABDULLAH: President Bush; Prime Minister Sharon; Prime Minister Abbas;
distinguished guests: We gather today in Aqaba, this small city that symbolizes
the immeasurable potential of bringing different peoples together. Not far
from here, Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1994. Nine years later,
what brings us here is the same dream -- the dream of peace, prosperity, coexistence
and reconciliation. But dreams alone cannot fulfill hopes. It is thanks to
the efforts of President Bush, and the commitments of Prime Minister Sharon
and Prime Minister Abbas, that we meet here today to transform these dreams
into real achievements on the ground.
Mr. President, Prime Ministers, let us have ambitions -- ambitions to move
beyond the violence and occupation; to the day when two states, Palestine
and Israel, can live together, side-by-side, in peace and security.
And in our hands today, we hold the mechanism that can translate these ambitions
into realities on the ground. It is a plan, the road map, that addresses
the needs of both Palestinians and Israelis. To the Israelis, this plan offers
collective security guarantees by all Arabs, a peace treaty and normal relations
with Arab states, and an end to the conflict. To the Palestinians, it offers
an end to the occupation, a viable state, and the promise to live as a free
and prosperous people.
To be sure, the road to realizing this vision will not be straightforward
or without obstacles. I'm aware that many in our region and around the world
view our gathering today through a lens marred with skepticism and suspicion.
The failures and frustrations of the past have left many disbelievers in
Today we have an opportunity and an obligation to reinstate faith in the
process, and to reinvigorate hopes for a better tomorrow. We simply cannot
afford the alternative. The road to confrontation has shown its consequences:
loss of innocent lives, destruction and fear. Most costly, however, was the
loss of hope. The most precious gift that you can present to your peoples
over the coming weeks is renewed hope borne out of tangible progress on the
ground. And it's not only your people who will be watching and waiting. The
eyes of the entire world will be upon you.
The nature of our new borderless world means that we all have a stake in
what happens here today. Jordanians, Americans, Europeans, and many around
the world stand ready and willing to lend all their support to ensure your
success. But at the end of the day, it is you, the Palestinians and the Israelis,
who have to come together to resolve the many outstanding issues that divide
Many will view the compromises that will be made during your negotiations
as painful concessions. But why not view them as peace offerings, ones that
will provide in return the priceless gifts of hope, security, and freedom
for our children and our children's children. It is only by putting yourselves
in each other's shoes that we can hope to achieve real progress.
Thus, we reaffirm today our strong position against violence in any form
and from whatever source. Blowing up buses will not induce the Israelis to
move forward. And neither will the killing of Palestinians or the demolition
of their homes and their future. All this needs to stop. And we pledge that
Jordan will do its utmost to help achieve it.
Mr. President, you have stayed the course. Your presence here today, to
witness the two leaders meeting together, agreeing on common grounds to solve
this conflict, provides a great impetus to move forward and a clear answer
to all the skeptics. I thank you, sir, for your leadership and your courage.
Prime Minister Sharon, Prime Minister Abbas, I urge you today to end the
designs of those who seek destruction, annihilation and occupation. And I
urge you to have the will and the courage to begin to realize our dreams
of peace, prosperity and coexistence. And, remember, that in the pursuit
of these noble goals, Jordan will always remain a true friend.
Thank you very much. And it is with great pleasure, if I may introduce Prime
Minister Abbas to say a few words.
PRIME MINISTER ABBAS: I would like to thank King Abdullah for hosting our
meeting here today. I would like also to thank President Mubarak and King
Abdullah, King Hamad, and Crown Prince Abdallah who met in Egypt yesterday.
I thank them for their statements supporting our efforts. I also would like
to thank the Israeli Prime Minister Sharon for joining us here in Jordan.
And many thanks, especially, to President Bush, who took the longest journey
for peace of all of us.
As we all realize, this is an important moment. A new opportunity for peace
exists, an opportunity based upon President Bush's vision and the Quartet's
road map, which we have accepted without any reservations.
Our goal is two states, Israel and Palestine, living side-be-side, in peace
and security. The process is the one of direct negotiations to end the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, and to resolve all the permanent status issues, and end the occupation
that began in 1967, under which Palestinians have suffered so much.
At the same time, we do not ignore the suffering of the Jews throughout
history. It is time to bring all this suffering to an end.
Just as Israel must meet its responsibilities, we, the Palestinians, will
fulfill our obligations for this endeavor to succeed. We are ready to do
Let me be very clear: There will be no military solution to this conflict,
so we repeat our renunciation, a renunciation of terror against the Israelis
wherever they might be. Such methods are inconsistent with our religious
and moral traditions and are dangerous obstacles to the achievement of an
independent, sovereign state we seek. These methods also conflict with the
kinds of state we wish to build, based on human rights and the rule of law.
We will exert all of our efforts, using all our resources to end the militarization
of the intifada, and we will succeed. The armed intifada must end, and we
must use and resort to peaceful means in our quest to end the occupation
and the suffering of Palestinians and Israelis. And to establish the Palestinian
state, we emphasize our determination to implement our pledges which we have
made for our people and the international community. And that is a rule of
law, single political authority, weapons only in the hands of those who are
in charge with upholding the law and order, and political diversity within
the framework of democracy.
Our goal is clear and we will implement it firmly and without compromise:
a complete end to violence and terrorism. And we will be full partners in
the international war against occupation and terrorism. And we will call
upon our partners in this war to prevent financial and military assistance
to those who oppose this position. We do this as a part of our commitment
to the interest of the Palestinian people, and as members of the large family
We will also act vigorously against incitement and violence and hatred,
whatever their form or forum may be. We will take measures to ensure that
there is no incitement -- from Palestinian institutions. We must also reactivate
and invigorate the U.S.-Palestinian-Israeli Anti-Incitement Committee. We
will continue our work to establish the rule of law and to consolidate government
authority in accountable Palestinian institutions. We seek to build the kind
of democratic state that will be a qualitative addition to the international
All the PA security forces will be part of these efforts, and will work
together toward the achievement of these goals. Our national future is at
stake, and no one will be allowed to jeopardize it.
We are committed to these steps because they are in our national interest.
In order to succeed, there must be a clear improvement in the lives of Palestinians.
Palestinians must live in dignity. Palestinians must be able to move, go
to their jobs and schools, visit their families, and conduct a normal life.
Palestinians must not be afraid for their lives, property, or livelihood.
We welcome and stress the need for the assistance of the international community
and, in particular, the Arab states, to help us. And we also welcome and
stress the need for a U.S.-led monitoring mechanism.
Together, we can achieve the goal of an independent Palestinian state, sovereign,
viable, in the framework of good neighbors with all states in the region,
including Israel. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
PRIME MINISTER SHARON: Thank you. I would like to thank His Majesty King
Abdullah for having this meeting, and express Israel's appreciation to President
Bush for coming here to be with Prime Minister Abbas and me. Thank you.
As the Prime Minister of Israel, the land which is the cradle of the Jewish
people, my paramount responsibility is the security of the people of Israel
and of the state of Israel. There can be no compromise with terror. And Israel,
together with all free nations, will continue fighting terrorism until its
Ultimately, permanent security requires peace, and permanent peace can only
be obtained through security. And there is now hope of a new opportunity
for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Israel, like others, has lent its strong support for President Bush's vision
expressed on June 24, 2002, of two states, Israel and a Palestinian state,
living side-by-side in peace and security. The government and people of Israel
welcome the opportunity to renew direct negotiations according to the steps
of the road map as adopted by the Israeli government to achieve this vision.
It is in Israel's interest not to govern the Palestinians, but for the Palestinians
to govern themselves in their own state. A democratic Palestinian state,
fully at peace with Israel, will promote the long-term security and well-being
of Israel as a Jewish state.
There can be no peace, however, without the abandonment and elimination
of terrorism, violence and incitement. We will work alongside Palestinians
and other states to fight terrorism, violence and incitement of all kinds.
As all parties perform their obligations, we will seek to restore normal
Palestinian life, improve the humanitarian situation, rebuild trust and promote
progress, follow the President's vision. We will act in a manner that respects
the dignity, as well as the human rights of all people.
We can also reassure our Palestinian partners that we understand the importance
of territorial contiguity in the West Bank for a viable Palestinian state.
Israeli policy in the territories that are subject to direct negotiations
with the Palestinians will reflect this fact. We accept the principle that
no unilateral actions by any party can prejudge the outcome of our negotiations.
In regard to the unauthorized outposts, I want to reiterate that Israel
is a society governed by the rule of law. Thus, we will immediately begin
to remove unauthorized outposts.
Israel seeks peace with all its Arab neighbors. Israel is prepared to negotiate
in good faith wherever there are partners. As normal relations are established,
I am confident that they will find in Israel a neighbor and a people committed
to comprehensive peace and prosperity for all the peoples of the region.
Thank you, all. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT BUSH: King Abdullah, thank you for hosting this event. Her Majesty,
thank you for your hospitality. It is fitting that we gather today in Jordan.
King Abdullah is a leader on behalf of peace and is carrying forward the
tradition of his father, King Hussein.
I'm pleased to be here with Prime Minister Sharon. The friendship between
our countries began at the time of Israel's creation. Today, America is strongly
committed, and I am strongly committed, to Israel's security as a vibrant
I'm also pleased to be with Prime Minister Abbas. He represents the cause
of freedom and statehood for the Palestinian people. I strongly support that
cause, as well. Each of us is here because we understand that all people
have the right to live in peace. We believe that with hard work and good
faith and courage, it is possible to bring peace to the Middle East. And
today we mark important progress toward that goal.
Great and hopeful change is coming to the Middle East. In Iraq, a dictator
who funded terror and sowed conflict has been removed, and a more just and
democratic society is emerging. Prime Minister Abbas now leads the Palestinian
Cabinet. By his strong leadership, by building the institutions of Palestinian
democracy and by rejecting terror, he is serving the deepest hopes of his
All here today now share a goal: the Holy Land must be shared between the
state of Palestine and the state of Israel, living at peace with each other
and with every nation of the Middle East.
All sides will benefit from this achievement and all sides have responsibilities
to meet. As the road map accepted by the party makes clear, both must make
tangible immediate steps toward this two-state vision.
I welcome Prime Minister Sharon's pledge to improve the humanitarian situation
in the Palestinian areas and to begin removing unauthorized outposts immediately.
I appreciate his gestures of reconciliation on behalf of prisoners and their
families, and his frank statements about the need for the territorial contiguity.
As I said yesterday, the issue of settlements must be addressed for peace
to be achieved. In addition, Prime Minister Sharon has stated that no unilateral
actions by either side can or should prejudge the outcome of future negotiations.
The Prime Minister also recognizes that it is in Israel's own interest for
Palestinians to govern themselves in their own state. These are meaningful
signs of respect for the rights of the Palestinians and their hopes for a
viable, democratic, peaceful, Palestinian state.
Prime Minister Abbas recognizes that terrorist crimes are a dangerous obstacle
to the independent state his people seek. He agrees that the process for
achieving that state is through peaceful negotiations. He has pledged to
consolidate Palestinian institutions, including the security forces and to
make them more accountable and more democratic. He has promised his full
efforts and resources to end the armed intifada. He has promised to work
without compromise for a complete end of violence and terror. In all these
efforts, the Prime Minister is demonstrating his leadership and commitment
to building a better future for the Palestinian people.
Both Prime Ministers here agree that progress toward peace also requires
an end to violence and the elimination of all forms of hatred and prejudice
and official incitement -- in school books, in broadcasts, and in the words
used by political leaders. Both leaders understand that a future of peace
cannot be founded on hatred and falsehood and bitterness.
Yet, these two leaders cannot bring about peace if they must act alone.
True peace requires the support of other nations in the region. Yesterday,
in Sharm el-Sheikh, we made a strong beginning. Arab leaders stated that
they share our goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, and living side-by-side
in peace and in security. And they have promised to cut off assistance and
the flow of money and weapons to terrorist groups, and to help Prime Minister
Abbas rid Palestinian areas of terrorism.
All sides have made important commitments, and the United States will strive
to see these commitments fulfilled. My government will provide training and
support for a new, restructured Palestinian security service. And we'll place
a mission on the ground, led by Ambassador John Wolf. This mission will be
charged with helping the parties to move towards peace, monitoring their
progress and stating clearly who was fulfilling their responsibilities. And
we expect both parties to keep their promises.
I've also asked Secretary of State Colin Powell, and National Security Advisor
Condoleezza Rice to make this cause a matter of the highest priority. Secretary
Powell and Dr. Rice, as my personal representative, will work closely with
the parties, helping them move toward true peace as quickly as possible.
The journey we're taking is difficult, but there is no other choice. No
leader of conscience can accept more months and years of humiliation, killing
and mourning. And these leaders of conscience have made their declarations
today in the cause of peace.
The United States is committed to that cause. If all sides fulfill their
obligation, I know that peace can finally come.
Thank you very much, and may God bless our work. (Applause.)