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Remarks Following Discussions With President Samora Moises Machel of Mozambique

September 19, 1985

President Reagan. It has been a pleasure for me today to meet with President Machel of Mozambique. At a time when much attention is focused on southern Africa, my meeting with the President underscores the determination of the United States to continue playing an active and constructive role in this volatile portion of the globe. The United States prides itself as a force for freedom and progress and stability, and this is true in southern Africa, as in other parts of the world. We seek to encourage the development of democratic government in all the nations of southern Africa. Democracy and the respect for fundamental human liberties are not only consistent with our values as a free people but are also the surest pathway to economic progress, internal reconciliation, and international peace.

President Machel, you have already taken a step toward peace. And because of your personal foresight and courage, cross-border violence in the region has been reduced and a more constructive relationship with South Africa has begun. These efforts already have proven to be a great boon to the well-being of your people. We know that economic recovery and development will require the restoration of peace, a process which will call upon all the statesmanship of Mozambique's leaders.

Mozambique has suffered greatly in the last decade from drought, domestic violence, and economic dislocation. I was impressed today with President Machel's sincere desire to improve the lot of his people. The United States, as is true in other African countries, is doing what it can to alleviate the worst effects of the drought. We are now also involving ourselves in a major effort to rebuild Mozambique's shattered economy. We welcome Mozambique's decision to cooperate with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to design a program of economic stabilization and development. Encouraging Western investment and strengthening Mozambique's private sector is a formula for economic advancement and improving the quality of life. We know you will find, President Machel, that the freer people are in the arena of economics, the more enterprising they become and the more benefits are enjoyed by the society as a whole.

I was glad to have had this opportunity today to express personally to President Machel America's good will toward the people of his country. We look forward to the success of his economic initiatives and movement toward national unity. Thank you, President Machel, for your visit to the United States.

President Machel. Thank you very much. We have come here on an official visit at the invitation of President Ronald Reagan. We say a sincere thank you for this friendly gesture. Our aim in this visit is to strengthen existing bilateral relations and define a basis for the long-term development of these relations. I have just had a very positive, fruitful, and constructive meeting with President Ronald Reagan. I had the opportunity to express our appreciation for the food and development aid that the United States of America has granted us.

Mozambique is an independent and nonaligned African country. We value our independence. We are proud of our independence. We are intransigent in the defense of our national interest. We firmly believe that, like ourselves, each people must determine the destiny of its own country. Our chief concern is to solve the basic problems of our people and to make the region where we live one of peace, stability, good-neighborliness, cooperation, and development.

In this context, we signed with the Republic of South Africa the Nkomati agreement, an essential condition for peace and development. The People's Republic of Mozambique has strictly complied with the Nkomati agreement. The need for the urgent elimination of apartheid is a matter of common concern. Mozambique took a positive view of the efforts of the international community, including the United States, in this regard. We hope that such efforts continue and that they lead to the independence of Namibia, to peace and stability for the whole of southern Africa.

Mozambique is still a backward and underdeveloped country, but one with vast potential and natural resources. We seek the participation of the United States and of its private sector in putting those resources at the service of our economic and social development. I am convinced that the meeting I have just had with President Ronald Reagan has established a solid basis for long-term cooperation in all fields between Mozambique and the United States. With mutual respect and reciprocal advantages, we shall develop the friendship which we all seek. So, thank you very much, Mr. President.

Note: President Reagan spoke at 1:25 p.m. at the South Portico of the White House. President Machel spoke in Portuguese, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter. Earlier, the two Presidents met in the Oval Office.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks Following Discussions With President Samora Moises Machel of Mozambique Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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