Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, June 10, 2003

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For IMMEDIATE Release

Roadmap to Peace in Middle East
Hyde Schedules Hearing with Assistant Secretary Burns

BACKGROUND: The Bush Administration’s announcement in April of a performance-based "Roadmap," and a quick end to Saddam Hussein’s repressive regime in Iraq, have combined to reinvigorate diplomatic efforts to achieve a lasting settlement between Israelis and Palestinians. At the summit in Aqaba earlier this month, Prime Ministers Abbas and Sharon pledged their efforts to reach a goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. "The journey we’re taking is difficult, but there is no other choice," President Bush said during the meeting, adding "No leader of conscience can accept more months and years of humiliation, killing, and mourning." A safe and prosperous Middle East likely never will be achieved without an end to violence between Palestinians and Israelis. Too many repressive regimes in the region now use the Israel-Palestine conflict to distract their people from the true sources of their problems, including a lack of democracy, equity, sensible development, and responsible behavior in the international arena. Many regimes may well come under increasing pressure from their own people for substantial political and economic change if there is progress on the roadmap.

WHAT: Full committee oversight hearing: The Middle East Peace Process at a Crossroads

WHEN: 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, June 11, 2003

WHERE: 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESS: William Burns, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Questions to be raised during this hearing:

The roadmap is based, in part, on security assurances to both the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority. How does the Administration propose to ensure these guarantees? Do Administration plans include use of U.S. troops as peacekeepers or monitors? Is it possible for outsiders to adequately "monitor" the full range of requirements imposed in the roadmap, such as efforts to suppress violent movements?
How committed are both sides to a comprehensive peace process?
How do we know that the Palestinian Authority will implement a comprehensive anti-terrorism plan aimed at dismantling groups dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the disruption of the peace plan?
What role will the non-American Quartet members play? What pledges of economic support has the Administration made to the two sides? What type of security assistance and training is the U.S. ready to furnish to the Palestinians?
What guidance is the Administration giving to both sides regarding proposed solutions to the issue of refugees and the "right of return"; contiguity of a Palestinian state; outposts and settlements; the status of Jerusalem; and the process by which boundaries will be determined?

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