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Remarks Following Discussions With President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe

July 24, 1991

President Bush. Well, Mr. President, let me just say that I've been honored and pleased to meet with you and your associates here at the White House today. I remember visiting Zimbabwe in 1982, when I was Vice President, and I certainly recall the warm reception that you gave me personally and that the Zimbabwean people gave our whole delegation. And it gives me great pleasure to, in some small way, return that hospitality.

Our nations share many common aspirations. We both found independence in revolution. Americans are proud of the role we played in the Lancaster House accords, paving the way for Zimbabwe's independence in 1980.

Over the years, we've had our honest differences. But we both share a fundamental belief that government must serve the people and that, through democratic elections, the people are the best judge of government's performance.

The last year and a half has brought remarkable and bold developments in your country and, indeed, throughout Southern Africa. Positive change moves in promising ways. Zimbabwe has ended its state of emergency and witnessed free and open elections -- moving with the tide of human aspiration worldwide. Last year your party decided against attempts to legislate a one-party state. And in keeping with events throughout Africa and around the world, Zimbabwe has abandoned Marxist-Leninism as its guiding principle.

Much of the credit for these accomplishments, sir, go to you for your courage, your commitment and to creating real opportunity for your people.

And, of course, opportunity means economic growth, and you've announced this investment policy -- a new investment policy -- as part of a broad structural adjustment program to encourage market-led economic prosperity. The International Monetary Fund has described your program in glowing terms, and we share the IMF's enthusiasm.

Last July, your government signed an investment guarantee agreement with our Overseas Private Investment Corporation -- we call it OPIC. And since then, several firms have announced their intention to invest in Zimbabwe. Beyond simply proclaiming our faith in your country, we've proved it -- doubling our level of development assistance this year. We will continue to look for ways to help you invigorate Zimbabwe's promising private sector.

I believe your stature worldwide will continue to grow. I remember congratulating you in 1982 at that marvelous state dinner in your homeland for Zimbabwe's election to the United Nations Security Council. Earlier this year, Zimbabwe's leadership as President of that Council was critical to the success of the coalition's efforts to enforce U.N. resolutions against Iraqi aggression.

We were very proud to have worked with you during that crucial period. And we look forward to a strong working relationship to serve as a force for positive change in Southern Africa, including Mozambique and South Africa.

Our conversations today, I can report, have been warm, productive; and they should serve as a basis to broaden and deepen our important relationship. We support your country's considered steps to economic reform, Mr. President, and we hope those measures will be matched by similar progress towards multiparty democracy.

And as you depart, you leave with the best wishes of the American people for a more peaceful and prosperous and free Zimbabwe, and we look forward to working with you.

Thank you, sir.

President Mugabe. Thank you, Mr. President. Ladies and gentlemen, members of the press. I would like to take this opportunity to warmly express my profound appreciation to you, Mr. President, for kindly inviting me to the United States of America. My entire delegation and I are extremely grateful for the hospitality we have received since our arrival.

The President and I have held useful deliberations on bilateral and wide-ranging international issues. Zimbabwe is implementing an economic reform program whose main components are trade liberalization, structural adjustment including strict public expenditure aiming at a reduction of the budget deficit, the decontrolling and deregulation of the economy, and the creation of an atmosphere conducive to increased local and foreign investment -- leading, in turn, to an expansion of the economy and the generation of more employment and more domestic, regional, and international trade.

This bold and ambitious but achievable program, which will open up our economy to market forces, has been endorsed by the World Bank and the IMF and, indeed, has received warm support from the United States administration.

Of the $16 billion needed to finance this 5-year program, $12.5 billion will come from within Zimbabwe. The remaining $3.5 billion must be mobilized from external sources. At our March Paris donors meeting, we were gratified by the level of support pledged, but we need further international assistance to enable us successfully to complete the program.

We have over 40 private United States companies doing business in Zimbabwe. We hope the additional incentives and the stable political situation will attract more United States private investors.

Trade is an important part of our economic reform program. We are, therefore, encouraged by the growing trade between our two countries. We hope the volume of this trade will increase rapidly.

Mr. President, Zimbabwe appreciates the development aid it has been receiving from the United States bilaterally and through the Southern African Development Coordination Conference -- SADCC -- since independence in 1980. I'm sure this assistance plays an even more important role in our economic reform program.

Zimbabwe welcomes the ending of the cold war and the rapprochement currently prevailing between the two superpowers. Many regions in the developing world, however, are not yet benefiting from this political thaw.

In our Southern African region, we are still confronted by apartheid despite the repeal of the acts that legalized it. Whilst we applaud and commend President de Klerk for steps taken so far, we are concerned by the pace of events and the continuing violence bedeviling that country.

Total dismantlement of apartheid and a new political dispensation leading to the creation of a united nonracial democratic South Africa remains our ultimate goal. That is why we in Southern Africa would urge that the remaining sanction pressures on the Pretoria regime be maintained until the path to democracy has reached an irreversible stage.

The end of hostilities in Angola was a most welcome development. We shall render our full and total support to ensure a lasting peace. And may I take this opportunity of congratulating you, Mr. President, and the United States for the role you have played in bringing about the peace process in Angola.

In Mozambique, we hope the two sides will also move quickly towards a cease-fire and the establishment of a lasting solution. We eagerly await the restoration of peace in our area and the chance to devote our resources to development. The resolution of these conflicts will enhance our ability in peaceful times to unleash all our forces to combat underdevelopment and consolidate our economy.

Mr. President, we are mindful of our close cooperation and collaboration during the Gulf crisis, as was evidenced during our Presidency of the Security Council. We believe in the principles of international law and hope that the momentum of bilateral cooperation will continue and lead to the establishment of a broader solution and peace in the Middle East, including the final, permanent, and satisfactory settlement of the Palestinian question.

Once again, Mr. President, Zimbabwe rejoices in the excellent relations existing between our two countries. We have a proverb in Zimbabwe which says: One never travels a path once. I hope, Mr. President, having traveled the path to Zimbabwe once, you will travel again and visit us. And the Zimbabwean people will once again have the joy of receiving you.

May I thank you for all the very warm welcome we have received and for the opportunity afforded us to exchange our ideas. I thank you.

President Bush. Thank you, Mr. President. Well done, sir.

Q. Mr. President, tomorrow's the U.N. deadline on the nuclear report from Iraq. Do you expect them to come clean?

President Bush. -- -- stick to the -- deadline -- no comment on that right now. Don't -- playing that up too much, but they know what they have to do.

Note: President Bush spoke at 1:15 p.m. on the South Lawn at the White House. Prior to their remarks, the two Presidents met privately in the Oval Office and with U.S. and Zimbabwean officials in the Cabinet Room, and then attended a luncheon in the Old Family Dining Room. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

George Bush, Remarks Following Discussions With President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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