Eighth Anniversary of the Madrid Peace Conference (Oct 30-31, 1991)

(Communicated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
29 October 1999

David Levy, one of the initiators and promoters of the Madrid Peace Conference, has once again reaped the rewards of the peace process: the establishment of full diplomatic relations with Mauritania, an Islamic country and a member of the Arab League.

Eytan Bentsur, among those who formulated the idea of the Conference, which convened on October 30, 1991 in the Spanish capital, was also involved in the coordination of contacts, together with US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Martin Indyk, leading to the signing of the agreement for the establishment of relations and the invitations for the Foreign Ministers of Israel and Mauritania to the Washington ceremony, in the presence of Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Tomorrow will mark the eighth anniversary of the Madrid Conference: the Conference that created the framework for the peace process – a process which has now gained momentum.

This week, to our satisfaction, we marked the fifth anniversary of the Peace Agreement with Jordan, which was also a direct and important result of that Conference.

The Madrid format, drawn up by the American administration led by George Bush and in cooperation with the Israeli government of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, enabled meetings to take place between Israel and all of its Arab neighbors, paving the way for direct negotiations with Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians. At the same conference, it was determined that multilateral discussions would take place with the participation of states from the Middle East and outside of it, in an effort to resolve problems affecting all the peoples in the region, such as water and economic cooperation. The multilateral discussions were designed, among other things, to support and assist the complex bilateral negotiations between Israel and its immediate neighbors, representing a confidence building step, and improving the general atmosphere in the Middle East.

The signing of the agreement with Mauritania restores us to the right track of the peace process which began in Madrid and was strengthened in Oslo, and enhances the prospects of a new momentum in the normalization process between Israel and the Arab world, leading to further positive results.