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Remarks Following Discussions With Amir Jabir al-Ahmad al-Jabir Al Sabah of Kuwait

September 28, 1990

The President. Well, it is my great pleasure to welcome His Highness Sheik Jabir Sabah to the United States. His Highness is visiting Washington for the first time. What normally would be a pleasurable occasion instead is a time for sobriety and sorrow. Our meeting has taken place with the backdrop of the tragedy that has been vested on Kuwait and its people by a ruthless and ambitious dictator.

Iraqi aggression has ransacked and pillaged a once peaceful and secure country, its population assaulted, incarcerated, intimidated, and even murdered. Iraq's leaders are trying to wipe an internationally recognized sovereign state, a member of the Arab League and the United Nations, off the face of the map.

To them and to the world, I will state what I told His Highness, the Amir. Iraq will fail. Kuwait -- free Kuwait -- will endure. And I have reaffirmed to the Amir that America's resolve to end this aggression against Kuwait remains firm and undiminished. Kuwait's sovereignty and territorial integrity will be restored, the stability and security of the Persian Gulf region is assured, and the safety of all innocent citizens is secured. And this is consistent with our longstanding interests endorsed by all my predecessors since Harry Truman. And this is consistent with the will of the world community, endorsed by the United Nations in eight Security Council resolutions. And just yesterday, the standing ovation that greeted the Amir's moving address to the U.N. General Assembly was one more powerful expression of international support for a free Kuwait.

His Highness and I reaffirmed our support for the U.N. Security Council resolutions as the means to bring about a peaceful end to the crisis. But ultimately, that is up to Saddam Hussein. I reiterated our strong belief that we just continue to stand on the principles by which the United States and the rest of the civilized world are governed. And that means that no nation should be allowed to conduct its relations with another on the basis of threats or the use of brute force. And finally, His Highness and I agreed that we must keep all our options open to ensure that Iraq's unlawful occupation of Kuwait is ended and Kuwait's legitimate government restored. We also discussed the key role that His Highness, his government, and the Kuwaiti people are playing and will continue to play in the international effort to achieve these efforts.

I want to thank the Amir for his generous support for those who are being asked to make sacrifices. And I also want to single out the valiant efforts of the Kuwaiti resistance who are continuing to fight vigorously for their country. Despite incalculable risks, many are willing to pay the highest price to rid their country of foreign occupation and to protect innocent citizens, including Americans, from harm. And many have already paid the ultimate price.

His Highness and I will continue to stay in close touch and to work together to find a solution to this tragedy. As I stated in my address to the Nation earlier this month, we will stand by our friends.

And to my guest, let me, sir, say one more thing, sir. I look forward to the day that I can visit you and the Kuwaiti people in your rightful home Kuwait.

Thank you for coming.

The Amir. Mr. President, I am pleased to have visited the capital of your great nation. And I wish I could have had the pleasure of receiving you in Kuwait City, the capital of my country, were it not for the Iraqi aggression which has denied us that opportunity temporarily, God willing. Nevertheless, the people of Kuwait, as well as myself, look forward to receiving you, Mr. President, in liberated, independent Kuwait.

I take pleasure in expressing to you once again, Mr. President, and to your great people the deep feelings of friendship and appreciation Kuwait feels for you. Our stand together in the face of treachery and aggression is proof that relations between our two countries are based on the solid foundation of common values and principles that, in turn, provides guidance for the fruitful cooperation that evolved and developed in various fields between the United States and Kuwait.

Your principled, courageous, and decisive position in face of the Iraqi aggression on Kuwait is a true expression of the unabated faith and commitment of the American people to the humanitarian morals on which and for which the United States of America was founded. The unity of the international community in support of our position against aggression and occupation, the two most flagrant violations of human rights, conclusively indicates the determination of all nations and peoples of the world to put a definitive end to armed aggression as any country's foreign policy tool. This unity takes on added relevance given the world's entrance to an era dominated by an atmosphere of peace, rapprochement, cooperation, and optimism.

We look with admiration to the role you, Mr. President, and your nation have played in inaugurating and enhancing the foundation of this era. Mr. President, your just position by the side of Kuwait in this ordeal represents a categorical rejection of aggression in all its forms and manifestations, whatever its source or pretext. The unity and support shown by the friendly American people towards the position and measures taken by you, Mr. President, against Iraq's aggression, whose first and foremost victims are the human rights of the Kuwaiti people, are perfectly compatible with the unflinching faith in the standards of justice and fairness for which the American people stand. This is the faith that brings together the nations and peoples of the civilized world.

I am fully satisfied by the identical views we hold on issues covered in our talks this morning with you. Truly, this mutual agreement reflects the advanced stage in relations our two friendly countries and peoples have reached.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Bush spoke at 1:45 p.m. at the South Portico of the White House. In his remarks, he referred to President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. The Amir spoke in Arabic, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter. Prior to their remarks, the two leaders met privately in the Oval Office and with U.S. and Kuwaiti officials in the Cabinet Room, and then attended a luncheon in the Old Family Dinning Room.

George Bush, Remarks Following Discussions With Amir Jabir al-Ahmad al-Jabir Al Sabah of Kuwait Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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