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Remarks Following Discussions With Prime Minister Sa'd al- 'Abdallah al-Salim Al Sabah of Kuwait

July 12, 1988

The President. Your Highness, it's been an honor to meet with you today and discuss the many important issues that concern our two countries. I value the opportunity to exchange views and ideas with a leader of your wisdom and experience.

Our two great countries share a long history of friendship and cooperation. Never have our relations been stronger than they are today. During the past year, we've worked together successfully to help defend the safe passage of neutral shipping through the vital waters of the Gulf. Together we've taken steps to preserve the crucial principle of free navigation that we both believe in. Your support for our naval forces engaged in this mission has been crucial to their success.

Kuwait is respected throughout the world for its moderation, skillful diplomacy, strong and principled stance against terrorism, and commitment to seeking negotiated solutions to international disputes. Despite your preference for diplomacy, you've known how to stand firm against intimidation and prevent the Iran-Iraq war from compromising your independence. All Americans salute your steadfastness and resolve. We've been glad to assist you, including cooperation in Kuwait's program for upgrading its defenses against increasing threats. In this connection, I strongly support your request for F18 aircraft and accompanying weapons now pending before the Congress.

We've also been pleased to join you in a broad international campaign to bring Iran and Iraq to the bargaining table. The horror of this terrible, tragic war and its hundreds of thousands of innocent victims seems to have no end. It's a continuing threat to your region and an object of revulsion for the international community. The time has come to act. Today, in our talks, we have rededicated ourselves to seeking a prompt negotiated end to this human catastrophe based upon urgent acceptance and full implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 598.

In our discussions today, we also reaffirmed the urgent need for a just and lasting resolution of the Palestinian problem. The United States will continue to work actively in the pursuit of a comprehensive peace that would realize the legitimate political aspirations of Palestinians while safeguarding the legitimate security concerns of Israel. None of us can afford diplomatic stalemate, from which only extremists on all sides will benefit.

Your Highness, the peoples of Kuwait and the United States have developed common interests and lasting ties. The bonds that join us have never been closer. The social, economic, political, and security interests we share have never been greater. Our meeting today has sent a powerful signal to the world of the value the United States places on Kuwait's friendship. I wish you well during the remainder of your stay in the United States, and I sincerely hope your contacts with my countrymen will broaden and deepen the mutually beneficial relationship between us.

The Prime Minister. Mr. President, it gives me great pleasure to express to you my most sincere thanks for the gracious invitation which you have extended to me to visit your great country, a visit during which I had the pleasure of meeting and discussing with you a number of topics of mutual concern to both our friendly nations. The visit has also provided me with a good opportunity to meet with officials in your administration and the Congress, as well as the friendly American people. While expressing my warm appreciation for your kind words about my country, Kuwait, it gives me great pleasure to convey to you and to the American people the warmest sentiments of cordial friendship from His Highness, the Amir; the Government; and people of Kuwait.

Mr. President, the comprehensive, far-reaching, and positive nature that has marked our talks today reflects the advanced and ever-developing level which has been achieved in our mutual relationship. Our talks have also revealed identical views in addressing the great potential for the continued development of cooperation and friendship between the United States and Kuwait. This gives us yet greater confidence in the future of our relationship. Our common and solid belief in spiritual values, human principles, and norms controlling relations between nations and peoples constitute, in our opinion, the proper framework for the development of our relations.

We in Kuwait have high admiration for the values and principles upon which, and for which, your great country was founded; and we also appreciate the remarkable achievements of the American people in various fields of human endeavor and progress. Furthermore, we appreciate the effective role of the United States as a superpower in resolving issues of world peace and security, as well as its keen interest in seeking suitable solutions to international problems.

Regarding our region, we especially value all that the United States has done and is doing towards bringing an end to the Iraq-Iran war, and for safeguarding international navigation in the Arabian Gulf. Your support has won the gratitude of the Government and people of Kuwait. Your stance reflects the depth of the ties of friendship between us.

Mr. President, we have followed with great interest your efforts towards peace in the Middle East. We hope that such efforts will continue and will lead to a just and lasting peace. And as the Palestinian question is the core of the conflict in the Middle East, we are confident that the recognition of the national legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and the necessity of their participation, represented by the Palestine Liberation Organization, in any future efforts to attain this noble goal are essential requirements for peace in this region.

And, Mr. President, I should like to reemphasize that we in Kuwait highly value the friendly backing of your nation in our firm stand against all acts of terrorism, which have been repeatedly directed at our country and people in the last few years. Such support by you and your friendly people has strengthened our resolve and determination to stand firm against these atrocious acts.

And, Mr. President, I would like to wish your great country continued progress and prosperity, and your kind person and esteemed family the best of health and happiness. And thank you, Mr. President.

Note: The President spoke at 1:27 p.m. in the East Room at the White House. The Prime Minister spoke in Arabic, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks Following Discussions With Prime Minister Sa'd al- 'Abdallah al-Salim Al Sabah of Kuwait Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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