Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony for Amir Isa bin Sulman Al Khalifa of Bahrain

July 19, 1983

The President. Your Highness, it is a pleasure for Nancy and me to welcome you to the United States as a guest of the American people. Your concern for your people is well known, particularly your commitment to the education and economic well being of your citizens. Your personal involvement in the problems of even the humblest of your countrymen is legendary. For these reasons and others, I've looked forward to the day when we could meet.

Your Highness, you've guided Bahrain through a difficult first decade of independence with admirable skill, bringing economic progress with imaginative leadership. With far fewer oil resources than some of your neighbors, you've transformed Bahrain into a financial and industrial center with one of the most diversified economies in the region. Just as important, because of your progressive leadership, Bahrain also leads the area in health care and education. As it has been since ancient times, Bahrain continues to be a place where people of different cultures and religions live together in tolerance and peace. Your efforts to build a humane and diverse society provide an effective link in the exchange of technical skills and cultural values between East and West.

Under your leadership, Bahrain continues to be an inspiring example for all of the Middle East and the world. The American people are pleased to have been counted as supportive friends as you built this record of achievement. Our two peoples have been partners for progress and peace since the beginning of this century. We have found this relationship to be of great mutual benefit. Many of the 70 United States companies in Bahrain today continue to train Bahrainis in technology and other skills, whether they be modern banking techniques, setting up new industries, or preparing coaches and athletes for Bahrain's Olympic teams. Our long history of private sector cooperation is .a shining example of what can be achieved m a partnership based on mutual trust and respect.

Your Highness, as you're keenly aware, continued prosperity for your people and those of the Gulf region depend on peace and security. It is no secret that the United States has a vital national interest in the Middle East. We and our allies depend on oil originating there, much of it produced in and nearby your country. Yet we also recognize the value of partnership and respect for the culture and aspirations of states like your own—unlike another world power which seeks to impose its system by encouraging and exploiting conflict and unrest. But the United States seeks peace and stability.

Together with other peace-loving nations in the Gulf region, we've made rapid progress in recent years, not only by helping our friends meet their own defense requirements but also by developing our own ability to come to their assistance should the need ever arise.

Many Americans who work in the region have experienced hospitality of the Bahraini people, and for this I am most appreciative. During his recent visit, Crown Prince Hamad deepened his friendship between our two countries.

Your Highness, I want to assure you that I share your concern about the conflict between Iraq and Iran. The loss of tens of thousands of young men on both sides and the destruction borne by both countries is tragic. I look forward to consulting with you about what more our countries might do to encourage a negotiated end to this conflict, which threatens the security and even the marine ecology of the entire area.

We've appreciated your government's understanding as we pursue our goal of seeking the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon and securing a settlement for the Palestinian people that is firmly rooted in the principles of security and justice embodied in the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

As you know, Secretary Shultz returned recently from the Middle East. We remain undaunted in our effort to prevent the forces of violence from exercising a veto over the rights of the Lebanese people. The people of Lebanon must have restored their basic human right to pursue their own destiny in an atmosphere of peace, security, and mutual trust.

I look forward to discussing our many common concerns with you today. I know our shared goals of peace and prosperity for the region can be met in the same spirit of good will and partnership that has characterized our friendship thus far.

On behalf of the American people it is my privilege to welcome you to the United States.

The Amir. Mr. President, I would like to offer my appreciation and thanks for the kind thoughts expressed in your address towards the State of Bahrain and for the welcome and hospitalities extended to us from the very beginning of our official visit to your friendly country. This indicates the strength of the friendly ties existing between our two countries. I offer my genuine good wishes to the friendly people of the United States of America for their well being and prosperity.

I believe that this visit will succeed in developing the relations between our two countries, open up a new chapter in our fruitful cooperation, and support our efforts to help maintain peace, security, and justice for the world community. As you have referred, Mr. President, in your address, to some of the most important economic and political issues in the world, I should commend in this respect the positive role you play for the prosperity and security of the world. We, no doubt, support and uphold the great effort you make in this field; as we firmly believe that such issues are very important for the progress of the individual in the modern world and that without them clashes and war will break out. Clashes and war will break out and destroy all of the progress made over the years.

In the light of many common views we share in the political field, we believe, as you do, that the Middle East problem comes in the forefront of political issues in the world. It is one of the burning and explosive problems in the world, which passes now through a very dangerous stage that poses a serious threat to the world peace and security. This imposes upon us the duty to make every effort to save the region from this disastrous situation.

We hope that the sincere and good effort you make to find a suitable solution to this problem will result in establishing just and durable peace in the region, which has been exposed to five major wars within 35 years with disastrous effects to its people. The tragic events in Lebanon and the damage it has suffered are but some of many inevitable results of the explosive situation in the region. Lebanon deserves all the help and backing so that its government will exercise full control over its unified territories.

We believe that there will be no hope of stability in the Middle East without the application of the same universal principles upon the people of the region; and concluding, the Palestinian people, when they are dealing with their legitimate right to live in peace within secure national boundaries.

We are prepared to do our best and participate in every sincere, international effort to establish security in the Middle East region, within this framework, in order to put an end to this terrible conflict and enable the people of the region to live in peace.

Finally, it is my pleasure to conclude by wishing you, Mr. President, all the success in your efforts for the progress and advance of the friendly people of the United States of America, and to bring peace, justice, and prosperity to the people of the world.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 10:09 a.m. on the South Lawn of the White House, where the Amir was accorded a formal welcome with full military honors.

Following the ceremony, the President and the Amir, together with U.S. and Bahraini officials, met in the Oval Office.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony for Amir Isa bin Sulman Al Khalifa of Bahrain Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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