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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2001 > December
Press Statement
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 16, 2001


Chairman Arafat's Address

We have heard Chairman Arafat's address to the Palestinian people today. His words imply that he has made the decision to exercise his leadership in stopping terrorism. Such words are constructive. Now, he must turn these important words into effective and sustained action against terror and violence. In recent days, we have seen some positive actions by the Palestinian Authority. These must be broadened and intensified.

Chairman Arafat called for a complete cessation of armed activities. He and the Palestinian Authority know what specific actions are needed to realize this. Such actions must include the dismantling of all the terrorist networks, including HAMAS, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist organizations.

Stopping the terror and violence is essential to implementing the Tenet security work plan and the Mitchell Report recommendations. The United States wants to move ahead with these recommendations, which create obligations for both Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Last month, President Bush, in his speech to the UN General Assembly, and Secretary Powell, in his speech in Louisville, outlined a positive vision of a region in which Israelis and Palestinians live in peace and security. The United States remains committed to doing all it can to make that vision a reality.

But these efforts cannot move forward unless the Palestinian Authority takes all the steps it can to bring to justice those responsible for terrorist attacks and to destroy the organizations that would launch future attacks. This is a critical moment.

Assistant Secretary Burns and General Zinni arrive back in Washington today to provide their evaluation of the situation to the President and Secretary Powell. Chairman Arafat's address and, more importantly, subsequent actions will be key elements of our assessment.


Released on December 16, 2001

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