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Remarks Prior to Discussions With President Jose dos Santos of Angola and an Exchange With Reporters

December 08, 1995

Angolan Peace Process

President Clinton. Hello. I'd like to say that I'm very pleased to welcome President dos Santos and his party here to Washington. He's taken some bold steps to move the peace process forward, and we understand this has made possible some changes in our relationship with Angola.

It's obvious that some further things will have to be done in light of the recent cease-fire violations. But we know that President dos Santos is critical to the success of the peace process, and we look forward to a good relationship with a reconciled, peaceful, and stable Angola.

Q. Do you think there can be peace in your country, Mr. President?

President dos Santos. I believe so. But first of all, I would like to thank the—of welcome by President Clinton, to thank also for the kind invitation to visit the United States at this time of year.

I would like to restate our commitment to the peace process. We will do our best for this process to become irreversible, and to—[inaudible]—possible. And we are convinced that with assistance from the United States of America and from the international community in general, peace will be consolidated and a new page will be opened in Angola.

We mark our presence here with you to discuss issues regarding bilateral relations. We are convinced that our visit will serve to deepen the friendship between the United States of America and Angola and will set up the basis to establish a trade exchange for more investors to go to Angola in order for them, together with us, to launch into the adventure of economic reconstruction and to consolidate peace and national reconciliation.

U.S. Aid to Angola

Q. Will he be asking for aid for his oil industry during his visit, and how much aid will he be asking for if he is?

President dos Santos. We've come to thank you for the assistance that has been given to us, the assistance that has been given to us to maintain peace. But we also intend to go from this phase of assistance to trade and investment. There are sectors whereby we will be together with the United States of America, and one of those sectors is the oil sector, where the big investments from the United States will be. In other words, we want more investment, not only in the oil sectors but in other sectors of our economy which are open.

Government Shutdown

Q. Do you think there's going to be a Government shutdown again?

President Clinton. I certainly hope not. I have done exactly what I've said I'd do. I vetoed the budget that was passed, and then I made an alternative budget, which I presented yesterday, that fulfills the criteria of the resolution: It's a 7-year budget; it protects Medicare, Medicaid, education, the environment; it doesn't raise taxes on working people. That's the commitment that I made, and I hope that it will be taken as a good-faith gesture by the Republicans and we'll have some further negotiations.

Now, apparently, they're deciding what they want to do. But I have done what I think I should do, and this budget would be good for America. It will balance the budget and keep our commitments to our future, to our children, to our environment, and to the health care system of this country.

Q. Will you try to keep them in session if they close down the Government?

The President. Well, let's see. I think—that is December 8th? We've got a week, and I think they're waiting for—maybe to do some calibrations of their own on their own numbers. I don't know, but I don't think we should assume that this thing is going to break down. I'm prepared to work as hard as I can to do anything I can to keep working to try to resolve this in a positive way. That's why I presented this budget and why I hope that they will respond in good faith, just as I have.

NOTE: The President spoke at 11:41 a.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

William J. Clinton, Remarks Prior to Discussions With President Jose dos Santos of Angola and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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