The preservation of peace and stability in the Middle East is a paramount concern. The efforts of two Republican Administrations, summoning diplomatic and political skills, have been directed toward reduction of tensions and toward avoiding flashpoints which could serve as an excuse for yet another round of conflict between Israel and the Arab countries.
Our commitment to Israel is fundamental and enduring. We have honored and will continue to honor that commitment in every way -- politically, economically and by providing the military aid that Israel requires to remain strong enough to deter any potential aggression. Forty percent of all United States' aid that Israel has received since its creation in 1948 has come in the last two fiscal years, as a result of Republican initiatives. Our policy must remain one of decisive support for the security and integrity of Israel.
An equally important component of our commitment to Israel lies in continuing our efforts to secure a just and durable peace for all nations in that complex region. Our efforts have succeeded, for the first time since the creation of the state of Israel, in moving toward a negotiated peace settlement which would serve the interests and the security of all nations in the Middle East. Peace in the Middle East now requires face-to-face, direct negotiations between the states involved with the recognition of safe, secure and defensible borders for Israel.
At the same time, Republican Administrations have succeeded in reestablishing communication with the Arab countries and have made extensive progress in our diplomatic and commercial relations with the more moderate Arab nations.
As a consequence of the Middle East conflict of 1973, the petroleum producing states imposed an embargo on the export of oil to most of the advanced industrial countries. We have succeeded in creating numerous cooperative mechanisms to protect ourselves, working in concert with our allies, against any future embargoes. The United States would view any attempt to reimpose an embargo as an essentially hostile act. We will oppose discriminatory practices, including boycotts of any type.
Because we have such fundamental interests in the Middle East, it will be our policy to continue our efforts to maintain the balance of power in the Mediterranean region. Our adversaries must recognize that we will not permit a weakening of our defenses or any attempt to disturb valued Alliance relationships in the Eastern Mediterranean.
We shall continue to support peace initiatives in the civil war in Lebanon. United States envoys engaged in precisely such an initiative were murdered, and we express our sorrow for their untimely deaths and for all other dedicated government employees who have been slain elsewhere while in service to their country. In Lebanon, we stand ready to provide food, medical and other humanitarian assistance.
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