[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]
Mr. President, King Hussein, President Mubarak, Prime Minister Rabin, Chairman Arafat, Prime Minister Gonzalez, fellow foreign ministers, other distinguished guests:
Two years ago, the Israelis and the Palestinians embarked upon a new history. After a century of bloodshed and pain, they took the first brave step in a long and difficult road toward peace.
Today we bear witness to another extraordinary milestone in that journey. There will be no turning back, no turning back from that journey, which will be completed when Israelis and Palestinians finally live side-by- side together with their neighbors in security and dignity.
Prime Minister Rabin and Chairman Arafat:
Today's agreement is a further testament to your courage and determination. Once again, you reaffirm our faith in the power of persuasion to overcome the most daunting obstacles. In the face of extraordinary challenges, Israelis and Palestinian officials sat together, day after day, night after night, month after month -- talking, arguing, talking again, and finally in the end, reaching agreement.
The agreement unveiled today reflects the unflagging effort of both sides. For both peoples, this agreement offers a new pathway to a new relationship dedicated to peace and prosperity.
Mr. Prime Minister and Mr. Chairman:
As you press forward to finish your historic work, the United States will stand with you. Working together with two great leaders by your side -- King Hussein and President Mubarak -- we will strive to widen the circle of peace to Syria, to Lebanon, and across the entire Middle East.
And starting this very afternoon, with our partners in the international community, we will redouble our efforts to extend the political and economic support that you need to make real the promise of this day.
Three months ago in Jerusalem, and again three weeks ago here in Washington, I met with Arab and Israeli children who spent the summer together in a program called the Seeds of Peace. By developing new friendships, they are demolishing old prejudices. By reaching across communities, they are resolving a conflict that has far too long divided their peoples. It is their spirit which truly brings us here today -- their lives, their dreams, their futures. Let us resolve not to betray them.
We owe it to all of our children to realize the full promise of this day. Let us rededicate ourselves to the noble task we have started -- a task that, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, "the world will forever applaud, and God must [for]ever bless."1
1 Lincoln, A. (1862). Annual Message to Congress. At: http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/congress.htm
See also: Text of Oslo II Agreement
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