Last updated on: 6/26/2008 12:32:00 PM PST

What Was the 1991 Madrid Conference?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Ian J. Bickerton, PhD, Professor of Middle Eastern History at the University of New South Wales, Australia, and Carla L. Klausner, PhD, Professor of the Modern Middle East at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, in their 2002 book A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, wrote:

"The formulas of the 'Framework for Peace in the Middle East' signed at Camp David in 1978 [by Egyptian President Sadat, Israeli Prime Minister Begin and U.S. President Carter] were the starting point for the Madrid negotiations. Three sets of bilateral talks were to follow the opening session: between Israel and Syria, Israel and Lebanon, and Israel and the joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation. The bilateral talks had as their foundation U.N. Resolution 242, with its principle of land for peace, and U.N. Resolution 338, which called for direct negotiations. Among the most important questions the bilateral talks were meant to resolve were the conditions for the signing of peace treaties, the boundaries of Israel, the disposition of the occupied territories, and the future of the Palestinians. The Madrid Conference also set up a series of multilateral working groups to discuss issues affecting the Middle East as a whole."

2002 - Carla L. Klausner, PhD 
Ian J. Bickerton, PhD 

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), in an online article (accessed July 16, 2007) posted in the section "On This Day (Oct. 30, 1991)" and titled "1991: Bush Opens Historic Mid East Peace Conference," wrote the following:

"The conference was organised by the US and Soviet Union and has taken months of careful preparation.

Representatives from all Israel's immediate Arab neighbours were present at the Madrid Royal Palace and there was a surprise appearance from Saudi Prince Bandar Bin Sultan who had not been expected to attend.

The opening day of the conference will be followed by one-on-one sessions between Israel and each of its neighbours and then wider discussions in the hope of finding a solution to end the current troubles.

The aim of the talks is for all sides to resolve their rival territorial claims. Areas including the Gaza Strip, West Bank and Jerusalem are the main points of contention."

July 16, 2007 - British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) 

Palestine Facts, an online resource for topics on Israel, Palestine, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, (accessed July 16, 2007) posted the following statements in an article titled "What happened at the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference?":

"The Madrid Invitation, inviting Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the Palestinians to an opening conference jointly sponsored by the US and the Soviet Union on October 30, 1991, represented the result of US Secretary of State James Baker's shuttle diplomacy in the eight months following the Gulf War. The Madrid peace conference was a watershed event. For the first time, Israel entered into direct, face-to-face negotiations with Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and the Palestinians.

An intricate framework was structured for the three day Madrid Conference, followed by the start of negotiations. Two parallel negotiating tracks were established by Madrid: the bilateral track and the multilateral track. Four separate sets of bilateral negotiations put Israel together with Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the Palestinian delegation, intended to resolve past conflicts and sign peace treaties. The first bilateral meetings took place in Madrid, on November 3 right after the formal conference ended. Over a dozen rounds of bilateral talks were subsequently hosted by the US Department of State in Washington.

The multilateral negotiations targeted issues that concern the entire Middle East, such as water, environment, arms control, refugees and economic development."

July 16, 2007 - Palestine Facts