Opening Address in Madrid


US President George Bush, 30 October 1991

. . . Peace will only come as the result of direct negotiations, compromise, give-and-take.

What we envision is a process of direct negotiations proceeding along two tracks, one between Israel and the Arab states; the other between Israel and the Palestinians. Negotiations are to be conducted on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338.

. . . . Progress in these for a [multilateral negotiations] is not intended as a substitute for what must be decided in the bilateral talks; to the contrary, progress in the multilateral issues can help create an atmosphere in which long-standing bilateral disputes can more easily be settled.

. . . And once agreed, interim self-government arrangements will last for five years; beginning the third year, negotiations will commence on permanent status. No one can say with any precision what the end result will be; in our view, something must be developed, something acceptable to Israel, the Palestinians, and Jordan, that gives the Palestinian people meaningful control over their own lives and fate and provides for the acceptance and security of Israel.

We can all appreciate that both Israelis and Palestinians are worried about compromise, worried about compromising even the smallest point for fear it becomes a precedent for what really matters. But no one should avoid compromise on interim arrangements for a simple reason: nothing agreed to now will prejudice permanent status negotiations. To the contrary, these subsequent negotiations will be determined on their own merits.

We know that peace must also be based on fairness. In the absence of fairness, there will be no legitimacy- no stability. This applies above all to the Palestinian people, many of whom have known turmoil and frustration above al else. Israel now has an opportunity to demonstrate that it is willing to enter into a new relationship with its Palestinian neighbors; one predicated upon mutual respect and cooperation.

. . . we believe territorial compromise is essential for peace. Boundaries should reflect the quality of both security and political arrangements.

. . . I call upon all parties to avoid unilateral acts, be they words or deeds, that would invite retaliation or, worse yet, prejudice or even threaten the process itself. I call upon all parties

to consider taking measures that will bolster mutual confidence and trust- steps that signal a sincere commitment to reconciliation.

Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, 30 October 1991

Today we have a unique chance. It would be unforgivable to miss this opportunity. Success is in everybody’s interest not only because the rights to the peoples and nations and of individuals are increasingly recognized today as a universal foundation of the world order . . .

. . . In my view, the conference can only succeed if no side seeks a victory over the other side, but all seek a common victory over the cruel past. I am speaking of peace, rather than a cessation of the state of war. A durable peace implies the realization of a respect for the rights of the Palestinian people.

We must break the fetters of the past and do away with animosity, militarism, terrorism, hostage-taking, and actions that turn people into refugees.