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Appendiks 5

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Speaking notes for Meeting with PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat in Tunis, 20 July 1993.

  1. Initial Points

    1. Ms. Juul and Mr. Larsen went to Israel as my special envoys and had meetings with Mr. Peres and his closest advisors 17-18 July. I was concerned about the leaks which occurred a week ago and the strong Israeli reaction to them. They confirmed their strong concern to my envoys and said that it must not happen again. At the same time they expressed appreciation for the elegant way in which you deflected the last leakage. My envoys conveyed my assessment that the PLO was serious about concluding negotiations through the “Norwegian Channel”, that you wanted a breakthrough, and that you had a realistic assessment of the situation and the need for compromise.

    2. The Israelis made it clear that they want to conclude an agreement in the Norwegian channel. In fact they emphasized that this channel is the strongly preferred channel. Realism is necessary to achieve success. The negotiations cannot be allowed to drag on. If they do, another channel will take over. The advantage of the Norwegian channel is that it provides direct negotiations between Israel and the PLO. An agreement which is brokered by a third party will be more controversial than a direct agreement. The PLO can achieve a better agreement now than in the foreseeable future. Many say it is now or never. If it is to be now, a realistic approach is needed. It seems realistic to go for an agreement now.

    3. The Israeli team is ready to go to Oslo for another round of talks next weekend, i.e. 24-26 July. We are ready to arrange for such a meeting and hope that your team is willing to participate as well. The Israelis have indicated that in their view it is both possible and desirable to conclude the negotiations about the DOP at such a meeting. Mr. Peres consulted Prime Minister Rabin in detail and assured my envoys that he spoke on behalf of him as well.

    4. The Israelis understand yours position about Jericho and it is our clear impression that they are ready to show flexibility and will to compromise. It will be difficult to agree, but with a realistic approach on both sides agreement is possible on the transitional regime.

    5. The Israelis are clearly very concerned about security and they know that acts of terrorism and prosecution of the intifada could undermine public support in Israel for the agreement. They are willing to cooperate so as to enable you to establish police authority with your fighters. Modalities and numbers you have to discuss. Any reassurance you can give them on the security issue is clearly very important.

    6. It is clear also that Jerusalem as an issue contains many red lights for a first phase agreement. It is our view that it should be able to leave some issues open without prejudice to the final settlement and to include some constructive ambiguity in the first phase DOP.

    7. The Israelis understand and agree that any settlement process must comprise a substantial economic package and they are willing to contribute to its construction.

    8. To sum up: It is our sincere and considered view that the Israelis are serious. We base that on several discussions lately, including this last mission. It is their view that an agreement is within reach and that the Norwegian channel is strongly preferred and till now only productive channel.

  2. Follow-up points.

    1. The negotiation process is in itself a confidence building exercise. We have seen how it works through the Norwegian channel. What is important is to transform conflictual issues to common challenges. The PLO and Israel need each other. Both sides know that no agreement is possible without the active participation of the other. Both parties have their special sensitivities. Negotiations have now matured to the point that those sensitivities are viewed as common challenges. What is impossible toady will ble possible tomorrow, provided confidence-building succeeds. Implementation of the first phase will change the parameters for a final settlement for both sides.

    2. Norway’s role is of facilitation, not meditation. We have no special interest or global considerations propelling us to seek particular solutions. We believe that the most sustainable agreement is one which is reached through direct negotiations between the principal parties, i.e. Israel and the PLO.

    3. Reaching a negotiated agreement will require leadership, willingness to break consensus in order to make possible that which is necessary. You yourself have a very important role to play here – a role only you can play in attaching legitimacy to the agreement among the Palestinian people.

    4. In any long-standing conflict symbols are particularly important. They can also be significant obstacles. The parties must pay attention to verbal symbols and the need for verbal reassurance. “Corridor” is probably an unfortunate way to denote the links between Gaza and Jericho. Why not use terms like “free passage” or “guaranteed access”. Similarly, although Arafat himself, has made several statements burying the PLO charter, reassuring reiteration would be very important in connection with concluding and announcing a first phase agreement. We should expect the process of negotiations to change outlooks, expectations and interpretation.


Last modified: Sun Aug 30 20:43:12 2015 - BL