THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
|For Immediate Release|| ||October 19, 1998|
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
UPON DEPARTURE FOR WYE CONFERENCE CENTER
The South Grounds
1:28 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: I want to begin by saying how much Ideplore the grenade attack earlier today on a bus station inBeersheba, Israel. No cause, no grievance justifies terror. This isanother attempt to murder, plain and simple.
Now, I am convinced that reaching a secure, just, andlasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians is the best way toensure that terrorism has no future in the Middle East. I'm nowreturning to the Middle East peace talks to encourage the Israelisand the Palestinians to make the hard decisions necessary to movethis peace process forward.
As I said when we launched the talks last week, theUnited States will do everything we can to help, but ultimately, onlythe parties themselves can bridge their differences and put theirpeople on a more hopeful course. The issues are difficult. Thedistrust is deep. The going has been tough. But the parties mustconsider the consequences of failure, and also the benefits ofprogress.
Finally, let me say just a few words about the flashflooding that has wreaked havoc in southeast Texas. Reportedly, 18people have lost their lives; 5,000 evacuated from their homes; 1,200in refuge in emergency shelters. The storms themselves have not yetabated. We offer our thoughts, our prayers, our resolve to help tothose who have lost family members, those who have been uprooted.
A short while ago, I spoke to our FEMA Director, JamesLee Witt. He is already working with the Texas officials to assessthe damage, and the budget I am about to sign contains nearly $1billion in additional resources to FEMA so that this vital agencywill be even stronger as it works to address this and futuredisasters. For now, the nation stands ready to assist the people ofTexas in their time of need.
Q Mr. President, will the Wye talks cancel your tripto California tomorrow in order to be available to continue theMiddle East negotiations?
Q Can they still succeed at Wye?
THE PRESIDENT: I'm going back today to work on this.As you know, I got home at 3:00 a.m. last night. We're working hardthrough it. This incident in Israel is certainly a complicatingfactor. I have been briefed on the progress of events this morning,and we're going to work as hard as we can today and we'll have moreto say about it as events unfold.
Q How long will you ask the parties to remain, sir?Is today the deadline?