Statement on Diplomatic Talks With the Palestine Liberation Organization


December 14, 1988


The Palestine Liberation Organization today issued a statement in which it accepted United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, recognized Israel's right to exist, and renounced terrorism. These have long been our conditions for a substantive dialog. They have been met. Therefore, I have authorized the State Department to enter into a substantive dialog with PLO representatives. The Palestinian Liberation Organization must live up to its statements. In particular, it must demonstrate that its renunciation of terrorism is pervasive and permanent.


The initiation of a dialog between the United States and PLO representatives is an important step in the peace process, the more so because it represents the serious evolution of Palestinian thinking towards realistic and pragmatic positions on the key issues. But the objective of the United States remains, as always, a comprehensive peace in the Middle East. In that light, we view this development as one more step toward the beginning of direct negotiations between the parties, which alone can lead to such a peace.


The United States special commitment to Israel's security and well-being remains unshakable. Indeed, a major reason for our entry into this dialog is to help Israel achieve the recognition and security it deserves.