From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Middle East Statement

From Sheila MESA <>
Date 27 Oct 1998 08:44:03

World Council of Churches
Press Release
For Immediate Use
27 October 1998



The General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, Rev. Dr Konrad
Raiser, has issued the following statement:

The World Council of Churches welcomes the reestablishment of
negotiations which resulted in the agreements signed on 23 October
1998 in Washington, D.C., between the State of Israel and the Palestine
National Authority.  This has come at a critical time in the stagnated
Middle East peace process.  In what amounted to a reaffirmation of the 
Declaration of Principles agreed in 1993, the parties have given new
hope for a future shaped by reasoned dialogue rather than the
inevitability of violence.

The WCC congratulates the parties directly involved, and their leaders,
Chairman Yassir Arafat and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for the
spirit of accommodation they have shown in achieving this result.  It
expresses its appreciation to the United States Government, and in
particular to President Bill Clinton for their indefatigable efforts over
months, and particularly in the last critical stages, in helping develop an
agreed framework to bring the parties back to the table and to
agreement.  It extends to His Majesty King Hussein of the Hashemite
Kingdom of Jordan sincere appreciation for the remarkable role he has
played over the years in demonstrating that recourse to reason is the
only true option for the sake of peace and security for all sides.

As was the case with the Oslo Accords, many crucial and contentious
issues still remain to be settled after these new negotiations.  Even to
implement the terms of this partial agreement will require, as the
principals themselves stated at the signing in Washington, D.C., the
application of great civil courage and political skill.  We urge the parties to
hold firmly to their commitments, and the wider international community
and the peoples of the world to spare no effort in encouraging all sides
to abandon the use of aggressive force and to pursue peace through

True and lasting peace can only be based on justice for all.  We assure
the peoples of Palestine and of Israel and their leaders that we shall
accompany them with our fervent prayers that God will guide them along
the path of peace which has been reopened, that they move now to full
mutual recognition, and beyond that to the deep mutual respect which
will be required for a final resolution of the many outstanding issues and
a durable, just peace.

The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 332, in
more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian
traditions.  The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but
works cooperatively with the WCC.  The highest governing body is the
Assembly, which meets approximately every seven years.  The WCC
was formally inaugurated in 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  Its staff is
headed by general secretary Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church
in Germany.

World Council of Churches
Press and Information Office
Tel:  (41.22) 791.61.52/51
Fax:  (41.22) 798 13 46

P.O. Box 2100
CH-1211 Geneva 2

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