Clinton Says he Hopes to Open US Embassy in Palestinian Capital
US President Bill Clinton said he hopes to open a US embassy in the capital of a Palestinian state if peace talks are concluded by the end of the year, reported the Jerusalem Post.
"It is my great hope that by then Israelis and Palestinians - with our help - will have reached an agreement on Jerusalem that meets their needs," he told the London-based daily Al-Hayat, published in London on Friday.
"Then I would also be able to inaugurate an American embassy in the capital of a Palestinian state. I firmly believe that the Jerusalem problem can be resolved in a way in which both sides' national aspirations can be realized."
Clinton was sending a clear signal that the US will recognize a Palestinian state established as a consequence of negotiations, said the daily.
Pressed on whether the US would move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Clinton reiterated his commitment to review the issue by the end of the year -"and I will do so."
But he suggested that such a move would take place in the context of an agreement with the Palestinians and that it would be matched by the opening of a US embassy in a Palestinian state.
After repeating that Palestinian President Yasser Arafat had shown less flexibility than Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Clinton returned to the subject of Jerusalem when he noted that the future of the city was the main obstacle at last month's Camp David summit.
"Jerusalem is a difficult issue because of its critical importance to Islam, Judaism, and Christianity," Clinton told the Saudi-owned daily. "It is a unique problem which requires a unique solution.
"Jerusalem is really three cities," he continued. "It is a municipal city like any other with problems of environment, traffic control, and city services. It is a holy city which embodies the values of three great religious traditions and which contains religious sites sacred to three religions. And it is a political city, which symbolizes the national aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians.
"Resolving the issue of Jerusalem means dealing with all three of these dimensions in a way that harms no one's interests and promotes the interests of all. And I believe it can be done." - Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)