Madrid 91

THE MADRID CONFERENCE, 1991

This conference, co-sponsored by the US and the Soviet Union, was designed to follow up the Egypt-Israel treaty by encouraging other Arab countries to sign their own agreements with Israel. Jordan, Lebanon and Syria were invited as well as Israel and Egypt. The Palestinians were also represented, but as part of a joint delegation with Jordan and not by Yasser Arafat or other leading figures in the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), to whom the Israelis objected. The conference eventually led to a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan in 1994, but this probably would have happened anyway. The symbolism of Arab countries other than Egypt openly negotiating with Israel was probably the main achievement of the Madrid conference. The Palestinian track soon gave way to secret talks that led to the Oslo agreement.

[from Global Policy Forum, 21 May 2007]