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Remarks of President Reagan, President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, and King Hussein I of Jordan Following Their Meetings

February 14, 1984

President Reagan. I have been honored today to welcome and confer with King Hussein and President Mubarak. Their visit highlights the friendship between the United States and the two important countries they lead. Our countries share common interests in developing practical solutions to the problems of the Middle East. The good will and trust between us promise a solid foundation for overcoming the formidable obstacles to peace and progress in the region.

Our discussions today have reaffirmed that Egypt and Jordan will remain leaders in efforts to bring peace and security to the Middle East. King Hussein and President Mubarak have demonstrated foresight, realism, and resolve, which are essential if the peace process is to succeed.

We discussed in detail the opportunities for progress in the Middle East. Recent events in the area make it even more urgent to keep the broader peace process moving. The tragic events in Lebanon show that the occupation of territory by outside forces does not lead to peace, but rather to continued conflict and turmoil. I wish today, therefore, to reaffirm my commitment and that of our government to the principles I set forth in September of 1982, and in particular to the principle that the Arab-Israeli conflict must be resolved through negotiations involving an exchange of territory for peace.

The Egyptian-Israeli treaty proves what can be accomplished when states have the will to take risks for peace. And I'm confident that further steps toward peace in the Middle East are possible. For our part, the United States is ready to do all it can to keep the process moving forward.

King Hussein, President Mubarak are men I greatly admire, and I'm grateful to them for having come here to speak as friends and to reconfirm our common purposes in the enduring struggle for peace.

King Hussein. Mr. President, my good brother and old-time friend, President Mubarak, I'd like to thank you, sir, for your great kindness in enabling me and my brother, President Mubarak, to meet with you today and to discuss all aspects of the problems which we face in our area of the world; and our common goals and objectives for a better future for all in that area—of establishment of a just and comprehensive peace for greater stability and for a better life for generations to come.

I'm very grateful for the opportunity to have had this chance to hear your views, sir, and the views of President Mubarak on all matters and to contribute what I could for the purpose of achieving better understanding of our respective positions as we move ahead with hope and determination and with a commitment to do our utmost for a better future in the area from which we come and for a just and comprehensive peace. I will carry back with me, the impressions I gained of your determination and that of the United States to contribute its full share to help all concerned achieve their objectives.

We are proud of our friendship. It is of long standing. We are hopeful that this friendship will develop and evolve and that, based on trust and confidence and with determination, we shall overcome what appear and have appeared to be for a long period of time insurmountable obstacles. After all, the cause we are striving to serve is the cause of people, their future, their rights, human dignity, and, at the same time, their freedom and a better life, which is their right.

I thank you once again, sir, for many kindnesses, and I thank you, my brother, President Mubarak, and wish you every continued success. And I would like to say that this has been a visit I shall always remember. I'll treasure the memories of this visit and the wonderful opportunity it has given me to meet with you both. Thank you very, very much indeed for your many courtesies and kindnesses and the warmth of your welcome.
Thank you.

President Mubarak. I was very pleased to meet once again with our good friend, President Reagan, and discuss with him issues of great concern to our nations. We did so in the spirit of friendship and cooperation that dominates the relationship between Egypt and the United States.

I find it most rewarding to consult regularly with President Reagan and exchange views with him on matters of mutual interest. He is a statesman of great courage and wisdom. He has a profound sense of mission and responsibility. Our bilateral relations constitute a shining model for understanding and the cooperation among nations. We are determined to strengthen the bonds of friendship that link our peoples. The talks we held today will certainly add to this evergrowing friendship and mutual understanding.

I would like to seize this opportunity to thank the American people for cooperating with us in the vigorous efforts we are exerting to improve the quality of life for our masses. We are striving to reform our economic system and increase production and productivity. We are struggling to restore security and stability to the Middle East and Africa. Egypt has a pivotal role to play and a mission to fulfill. It is determined to do so with vigor and dedication. We are devoted to strengthening the structure of peace in our region and throughout the world.

The situation in Lebanon today is intolerable. The escalation of violence and the bloodshed is a threat to us all. Every nation is called upon to help. The peacekeeping role of the U.N. must be expanded and reinforced. The partition of this war-torn country should be prevented at any cost. The Lebanese people have a right to live and prosper like all other nations.

The key to a viable solution is the prompt and unconditional withdrawal of Israeli forces. The Israeli invasion is the root and the cause of the present sad situation in the area. No problem can be solved through foreign intervention and the use of force.

The Lebanese crisis is a stark reminder of the centrality of the Palestinian problem. That question must be addressed frontally and without delay. Our purpose is to create the necessary conditions for coexistence and the mutual recognition between the Palestinians and the Israelis. This coexistence must be based on justice and the recognition of rights. First and foremost, the right of the Palestinian people's self-determination should be honored and exercised. This is the clue to peace and security for all nations, including Israel.

The Palestinian people are entitled to your support and understanding. There is no substitute for a direct dialog with them through their chosen representative, the PLO. Such dialog will immensely serve the cause of peace to which we are both committed. Mr. Arafat is a responsible leader who has demonstrated tremendous courage under the most difficult circumstances. A dialog with him would reassure the Palestinian people and rekindle their hope for a better future.

No other nation can speak for the Palestinians. No other entity has a mandate to lay out their requirements for peace, and no other nation is more qualified than the American people, lending their support and backing.

The war between Iran and Iraq is another sad chapter in the history of the Middle East. We should spare no effort to bring it to an end immediately. No one can possibly benefit from the continuation of bloodshed between peoples who are linked together through the strongest cultural and spiritual bonds. To restore peace between these neighbors, certain concrete steps should be taken by those who are genuinely concerned. The mere expression of good will is no help in the face of continued fighting and escalated tension.

I came here also to plead the case for Africa. The African people need your attention and understanding. They are struggling against formidable odds. Economic crises and natural disasters are strangling their efforts for development and social transformation. Helping them is not only a moral obligation; it is a practical necessity for building a better world in which all nations live in peace and cooperate for their common good.

We are seeking your help in order to secure the unconditional independence of Namibia. The continuation of the present situation is unacceptable to all African nations. The minority regime of South Africa must know that the United States cannot support its policy of aggression and violation of human rights.

It was a happy coincidence that I met here with His Majesty King Hussein and pursued with him our ongoing consultation. We believe that Jordan has an important role to play in solidifying the structure of peace. It is an element of stability and security in the Middle East. Therefore, we support the dialog between Jordan and the PLO. This is a positive step towards peace. In the months ahead, we will be intensifying our contents with our partners in the peace process with a view of accelerating progress.

I have extended an invitation to President Reagan to visit Egypt at the earliest possible date. This will give our people an opportunity to demonstrate the depth of their sentiments towards the President and every American.

Thank you.

Note: President Reagan spoke at 1:51 p.m. in the East Room at the White House.

Earlier, the two Presidents met, together with U.S. and Egyptian officials, in the Oval Office. They then held an expanded meeting in the Cabinet Room.

Later in the Oval Office, King Hussein joined the two Presidents. Then, together with their advisers, they held a working luncheon in the State Dining Room.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks of President Reagan, President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, and King Hussein I of Jordan Following Their Meetings Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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