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First Anniversary of the Camp David Agreements Remarks of the President, Vice President Muhammad Husni Mubarak of Egypt, and Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan of Israel Following Their Meeting.

September 17, 1979

THE PRESIDENT. First of all, I'd like to introduce to the press some very famous gentlemen who are almost as well known in our country as am I: the Vice President of Egypt, Mr. Mubarak; the Foreign Minister of Israel, Moshe Dayan; the Defense Minister of Israel, Ezer Weizman; and General All, who is the Director of Defense of Egypt; and the two Ambassadors from Egypt and Israel.

As you know, this is the first anniversary of the signing of the Camp David accords. During that year we have seen realized, because of the courage and the conviction and the vision and the determination of President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin, the hopes and dreams that were present among us a year ago. Although the Camp David accords is a document made of words, the peace progress that has been made in the last year has been in the hearts and minds of the people of Israel and Egypt.

It's obvious that both countries, both peoples, both leaders are determined that this process will be successful and that we will indeed have peace in the Mideast, based on a comprehensive settlement of the differences that have divided the Arabs and the Israelis for so many years. It's with a great sense of thanksgiving and confidence that I assess what has been done so far and what will be done in the future.

I'd like to introduce now Vice President Mubarak of Egypt, representing President Sadat. I talked to President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin this morning. They sent their best wishes to the American people and their thanks for the foundation that was laid a year ago for this comprehensive peace.

Mr. Vice President.

THE VICE PRESIDENT. Thank you. Mr. President, friends, this is a fine moment for those who are committed to the cause of peace.

A year ago today, the leaders of the three countries—the three great nations-signed the Framework for Peace in the Middle East. It was an historic step of tremendous significance, but it remains a first step. Much remains to be achieved in the months ahead. We are all committed to continue our efforts until we reach a comprehensive settlement that tackles all aspects of the problem. First and foremost, it must address itself to the heart and the core of the entire conflict-namely, the Palestinian question.

It's very significant that we are in Washington on the 17th of September to follow up our efforts and build on what was achieved in Camp David.

In the months ahead we'll be working tirelessly together until we reach that goal for the good of world peace and security. This is an unwavering commitment which we share and are determined to honor. Thus, we should refrain from any rash act that would jeopardize the prospects of peace at this crucial stage. Acts of defiance and negativism should be avoided. The policy of confrontation and fait accompli is contrary to the spirit of Camp David.

Mr. President, under your leadership the American people are playing the role which is worthy of a great nation—the role of the peacemaker. This is a source of confidence and reassurance. Never before has there been so much promise and hope for the future. Never before has there been such awareness of the necessity for tackling the Palestinian question. Never before has there been such confidence in the United States as an honest and full partner in peace in the Middle East.

Much of the credit for all these positive developments goes to you, Mr. President. Through your determination and courage, we were able to overcome the most difficult problems, able to overcome the most difficult problems. With your vision and a deep sense of commitment, we were able to heal the wounds of the unhappy past and focus on the future. With your compassion and understanding, we were able to put the problem in the proper perspective.

We are also indebted to each and every American in the United States. No other nation showed so much interest in peace in the Middle East. No other nation has devoted so much effort and the 'energy to help friends build a great structure for peace. We count on your continued help and commitment.

I bring you greetings from President Sadat and the 41 million Egyptians. Let us now remain together until we reach our common goal. God willing, we shall reach it.

Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT. And now I'd like to introduce Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan, who played such a crucial role in the negotiations at Camp David and since that time, as we wage peace, not war, in the Middle East.

THE FOREIGN MINISTER. Mr. President, I want to thank you very much on behalf of the Israeli Government and the Israeli people on this splendid meeting here today and on the event for this meeting, on reaching peace with our neighbors in Egypt. Had it not been for you, we couldn't have done it, and we wouldn't be here today celebrating the anniversary of this day.

You said, Mr. President, that, of course, when you turn provisions written on paper into reality, you come against difficulties, which is true. And one of the problems that we have to face, we shall be trying to solve tomorrow and the day after. But allow me to say that, on the other hand, we did come surprisingly against pleasant, unexpected events during the implementation of the peace treaty. And I mention just one of them.

When we were sitting down here and in Camp David and working out the peace treaty, we were very worried about what we called the process of normalization, and we all looked forward with great anxiety about the day when an Egyptian Ambassador would have to come to Israel and an Israeli Ambassador would have to go to Egypt. But what happened in the meantime with the visits of President Sadat to Israel and the feeling that he was met with when he came to Israel, and the visits of Prime Minister Begin to Egypt, and the visits of hundreds of Israelis and many Egyptians to both countries, not only with no incidents but with warm feeling, meeting the people of the other country. And anyone who was not in Haifa when President Sadat was there recently cannot imagine the spirit, the moving spirit of the joy of the Israelis, not only about the meeting but about what that meeting represented—the peace between the two countries.

I know, Mr. President, that for the last few months you did not deal that much with our problems like you used to do before, and I assume that you did have other business to attend to. But though I do hope that we shall reach an agreement with the current negotiation—and I want to remind my friends, Vice President Mubarak and General Ali, that the gap that we had between the two of us when we started the negotiation, believe me, it was wider than the gap that we have between us and the Palestinians when we talk now about autonomy. So, I am hopeful about that. Still, what I want to tell you, Mr. President, besides thanking you again, to remind you that you are a party in this business. And if somehow we shall come against major difficulties, we might ask you to extend your hand, your guiding hand, to be involved again in the process of peace so that we shall achieve it.

Thank you very much.

THE PRESIDENT. Let me say in closing that one of the most gratifying and somewhat surprising developments has been the burgeoning friendship and the growing respect and cooperation that has developed directly between President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin. This accurately mirrors, in my opinion, the genuine feeling that exists between the people of Egypt and the people of Israel.

Good progress is being made. But, Mr. Foreign Minister, as you suggested, in the future, if an apparently insurmountable obstacle should be confronted in the negotiating process, then I would be deeply committed to becoming personally involved again. In the meantime, however, Ambassador Bob Strauss, Secretary Vance, and others can adequately represent the United States in adding our good offices to the negotiating process.

We believe that a firm foundation now exists for major progress to be made between Egypt and Israel and, in the future, among others that will join the peace process who live in the Mideast.

Thank you all for the constructive work that's already taken place. God bless you in future endeavors, which I'm sure will be successful in bringing the peace that we all cherish and for which we all hope with all our hearts.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 4:19 p.m. on the South Lawn of the White House.

Jimmy Carter, First Anniversary of the Camp David Agreements Remarks of the President, Vice President Muhammad Husni Mubarak of Egypt, and Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan of Israel Following Their Meeting. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/248117

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