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Remarks of President Reagan and President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt Following Their Meetings

August 06, 1981

President Reagan. Ladies and gentlemen, sadly the time has come for a farewell. I hope it'll only be an au revoir and that we'll be meeting again soon.

My meetings with President Sadat have now ended, and I want to say how valuable our exchanges have been and how encouraged I am with the progress that has been made and how much I personally have learned from President Sadat about the complexities of the problems that we all face in seeking a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. I'm greatly impressed with his intimate knowledge and his passionate concern.

Our talks covered three general areas: first, the growing strategic threat to the region posed by the growth of Soviet military power and the activities of Soviet surrogates in the Near East, Southwest Asia, and Africa. The second issue, discussed in great detail, was the peace process—and here, to be completely candid, I was a willing listener. We're both anxious to ensure the the negotiating process stemming from that Camp David agreements will resume and succeed.

President Sadat has urged that the United States continue to play an important role in this process, and this we will do. I'll be meeting with other Middle East leaders in the coming months to continue the process of sharing views with our friends about our common goals of peace, stability, and security in the area.

The third area we discussed—Congress isn't in session, is it? 1

The third area we discussed had to do with the growing bilateral relations between the United States and Egypt. We covered issues of mutual security, military cooperation, and economic matters. President Sadat shares our belief that a strong defense and a strong economy go hand in hand. We will work closely with Egypt as full partners in our search for peace and stability in the Middle East.

And finally, let me add another personal note. I had, of course, heard a great deal about President Sadat and was optimistic that we would establish a close rapport. My optimism was justified. I respected him for all that he has done, and getting to know him has vastly increased that respect. I share his belief that with courage, determination, and foresight, and a bold vision of the future, we can succeed in our common endeavors.

We've been delighted to have President Sadat and his family here with us, and we look forward to meeting again.

President Sadat. Thank you. I have a few words after the President.

I quite agree—full agreement with what President Reagan said. If I am to add anything, it is expressing my deep gratitude to President Reagan for this kind invitation to meet with him and to survey all the problems that we are facing together and then to meet again with the American people with whom I cherish really the full pride to be friends, to be understanding. And I'm happy to tell the American people, as always as I told them, I'm very happy, because after this visit I can say that I enjoy the friendship of President Reagan as a great leader of a great nation.

Again, I shall end like I have always ended: I shall never let you down.

Thank you very much.

1 The President was momentarily distracted by the sound of nearby fire engine sirens.

Note: President Reagan spoke at 10:08 a.m. to reporters assembled at the North Portico of the White House.

Earlier the two Presidents held a breakfast meeting in the Red Room.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks of President Reagan and President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt Following Their Meetings Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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