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Cairo, Egypt Remarks of President Anwar at-Sadat and President Carter at the Welcoming Ceremony.

March 08, 1979

PRESIDENT SADAT. My dear [fiend and brother, President Carter:

On behalf of 40 million Egyptians, I welcome you in the cradle of civilization. You are held here with the highest esteem, as one of the greatest statesmen of our time. Your courage and wisdom are paralleled only by the strength of your commitment to morality and justice.

Never before has an American President been so firm in his devotion to the cause of world peace and the universal brotherhood of man. Never before has a statesman with your awesome responsibility devoted so much of his time and effort to the noble task of promoting peace and cooperation among nations.

This is a historic and courageous mission. On your departure yesterday, you said that you were undertaking it with hope and sober realism. We share your hope and pray for the success of your endeavor. You will find the Egyptian people firm in their dedication to a just and comprehensive peace in the area. We are determined to enable our Palestinian\ brothers to realize their national rights and regain their freedom.

In the days ahead, we will be working together to make these cherished hopes a living reality. We want to build a viable structure for peace that's based on the rule of law and legitimacy.

The reception you were accorded today by our masses is a testimony of the affection they have for you and for every American. Let us vow to cement the bonds of friendship and cooperation between our nations.

May God Almighty guide our steps and lighten our way and, God willing, we shall overcome. Thank you.

PRESIDENT CARTER. Salaam alaikum. [Peace be upon you.]

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians lined the streets this afternoon to express their deepest feelings—feelings not of personal friendship or admiration for me, or even for their noble and beloved leader, President Sadat, but their deepest feeling expressed hundreds of times over was a genuine desire for peace.

The greeting of peace has a special and urgent meaning for all of us today. I come to you, Mr. President, in the service of peace. You receive me in a spirit of peace. We meet to resume together the sacred work of building peace.

It's an honor for me and my wife to be reunited with you, Mr. President, and your wife, and with our many other friends with whom we've worked so diligently in recent months.

It's a pleasure to be with you this time in Cairo. We bring with us the respect and the good wishes for President Sadat and for the people of Egypt from the tens of millions of people who live in the United States of America.

I've come to the Middle East to advance the cause of peace between Egypt and Israel. A treaty between these two great nations would be a beginning, not an end. It would bring us much closer to the broader goal we seek—a real peace, a comprehensive peace, a peace that would reflect the legitimate needs of all those who have suffered so deeply during the last 30 years of conflict, enmity, and war.

It would also be the beginning of a new chapter in the long history of Egypt, one in which the energies of all Egyptians can at last be turned in full force to the human task of building a future of dignity and hope.

I know from experience how deeply President Sadat wants that kind of future. In my many hours of conversation with him, I've learned to respect him as a man of great courage with a passion for peace. He has spoken eloquently, but more importantly, he has acted boldly and decisively.

In his electrifying trip to Jerusalem in November of 1977, President Sadat fully committed himself to the goal of a just and lasting peace. That was also our goal at Camp David, where President Sadat, Prime Minister Begin, and I agreed on a framework for a comprehensive peace and on the outlines of a treaty between Egypt and Israel. And that remains the goal of the talks that will continue today.

Our hope is to achieve an agreement which is honorable, just, and which provides security for each of the negotiating parties. But above all, our purpose is to achieve a peace that will last.

If the promise of peace is to be fully realized for the people of Israel and Egypt, then others must be encouraged to join the process of resolving differences through negotiations and accommodations.

The United States will work with any and all parties who are committed to these principles of genuine peace and security. As the relations among us grow stronger, we can all work more effectively to bring stability to the Middle East region as a whole.

President Sadat has written, and I quote, "No problem should ever be regarded as insuperable." In recent months, we've overcome many problems that once seemed insurmountable. I pray that, with God's help, we may remove the remaining obstacles to the conclusion of a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel and continue the negotiations with great determination on other issues, in accordance with the Camp David agreements.

The most important condition for success has already been met—the sincere conviction on both sides that peace is preferable to war, that differences can better be settled by the exercise of reason than by the spilling of blood.

The people of Egypt have spilled much blood. And in the eyes of the women, in particular, on the streets and in the balconies in the last few minutes, we've seen a desire and a hunger and a prayer that their sons and their husbands would never again have to suffer in a cause of combat and war.

President Sadat and I, in the car together, repledged ourselves not to disappoint those here, in Israel, among the Palestinians, among the countries also presently in a state of war, who depend on us and others to bring the long unrealized but deeply desired state of peace to this region.

Like you, Mr. President, I am dedicated to the cause of peace. Like you, Mr. President, I'm determined to persevere. Our common dedication, our common determination is rooted in the soil of common religious truth. Many signs said, "We believe in God." You and I, Mr. President, believe in God. We believe in truth, that truth takes different forms. But its underlying message is the same—it's a message of love, of faith, and of peace.

As we work together in the crucial discussions that are about to begin, let us pray God, in the words of the Christian Gospel, "to guide our feet into the way of peace."

Thank you very much.

Note: The exchange began at 3:30 p.m. on the terrace of Qubba Palace, where the President stayed during his visit to Cairo.

Earlier in the day, President Sadat met the President at Cairo International Airport, and the two Presidents traveled by motorcade to the palace for the ceremony.

Jimmy Carter, Cairo, Egypt Remarks of President Anwar at-Sadat and President Carter at the Welcoming Ceremony. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/248960

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