Clinton doesn't side with wife on Mideast

September 29, 1998|By Mark Matthews | Mark Matthews,SUN NATIONAL STAFF

WASHINGTON -- With a chuckle, President Clinton turned aside a question yesterday about his wife's role in policy-making by saying, "She's not the president."

During a news conference, Clinton was asked whether, "in principle," he supported the creation of a Palestinian state.

In May, speaking to a youth summit in Switzerland, Hillary Rodham Clinton suggested it would be "in the long-term interests of peace in the Middle East for there to be a state of Palestine a functioning modern state that is on the same footing as other states."

Her comments contradicted long-standing U.S. policy that the issue needs to be resolved through negotiations.

Yesterday, Clinton declined to offer his own view, saying that "because of the heavy involvement of the United States in the peace process, I believe it would be an error for me to comment on that."

Then a reporter recalled, "Mr. President, the first lady commented on this in public."

"She did, but she's not the president, and she's not trying to manage this peace process," Clinton replied. "I gave my word that I would be faithful to the process that these two parties set out for the resolution of their agreement, and I have to try to do that."

Pub Date: 9/29/98

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