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Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony for King Hassan II of Morocco

September 26, 1991

The President. Well, it is an honor to welcome His Majesty King Hassan to the United States of America. The relationship between our two countries is rich, tracing back more than 200 years to the Moroccan-American Treaty of Peace and Friendship. And that agreement remains the longest unbroken treaty in our history.

Your Majesty, under your leadership, relations between our nations continue to grow and prosper in a variety of fields, in trade and investment, in cultural contacts, and in resolving regional disputes.

This past year has seen a world of remarkable change, transformations that have reverberated across every continent. Morocco is stepping forward to meet this new world. You have lowered barriers to increased investment and trade and begun the privatization of many of Morocco's wholly owned state enterprises. Already, your nation's economic opening has meant new opportunity for American investment, some of them generated by 1989's highly successful OPIC mission to Morocco.

Morocco is also responding to the call to all governments to recognize the rights and freedoms of their people. In this regard, the United States applauds Your Majesty's recent release of political prisoners, your establishment of the Royal Consultative Council on Human Rights in Morocco, and I know Morocco will not be deterred from this courageous course.

Your Majesty, we are pleased to see the United Nations proceeding with its efforts to resolve the Western Sahara dispute with Morocco's support. And it took a great deal of courage for you to agree to the U.N. Secretary-General's plan for a referendum, and I confirm America's willingness to play its role in promoting a just and lasting settlement in the Sahara in accordance with that plan.

In the Gulf, Morocco was among the first to commit forces in defense of Saudi Arabia. And when the issue was still in doubt, Morocco stood on the side of justice and against aggression. And today, I can assure you, Your Majesty, that the United States will continue to work toward a lasting peace in the Middle East.

We now see the real prospect of a peace conference leading to direct negotiations between Arabs and Israelis. That process aims at a comprehensive peace based on United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, and the principle of territory for peace.

We seek to elaborate on this principle to provide for real security and real peace for all states in the Middle East, including Israel, and for recognition of legitimate political rights of the Palestinian people. Your Majesty, I look forward to working with you toward those objectives.

Your Majesty, once again, a warm welcome to the White House. I look forward to our talks, and I want to extend a special welcome to your daughter who has accompanied you on this visit. And I trust the fruits of our discussion will make the world a better place for her and for all of our children. Welcome once again, Your Majesty.

The King. Praise be to Allah. May the blessings of the Almighty be upon Mohammed, his household, and companions. Mr. President and dear friends, we are delighted to respond to your gracious invitation and to meet with you. Our visit constitutes indeed one important link in a series of previous visits during which we have come to establish excellent friendly relations with many of your predecessors. Mr. President, today's encounter will certainly renew and strengthen these relations.

We were no more than a child when we were introduced to President Franklin Roosevelt by our late father, Mohammed V. We never knew personally Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, and Reagan. Today we are received by you, Mr. President, a dear friend of ours whose distinguished career we have been following attentively. We have been following attentively your career, Mr. President, first when you were appointed Ambassador to China, then CIA Director and Vice President to our great friend, President Reagan, and finally, President of the United States of America. Throughout your career, we have at all times perceived in you a man of rectitude, humility, deep thought, true foresight, and unshakeable faithfulness towards his friends.

It is true that our last visit to the United States of America dates back to 1983. However, during these 8 years, our friendly relations have never been better. It couldn't have been otherwise considering that these relations are as old as your Nation. For the 1786 Treaty of Amity and Peace, signed by President Jefferson and our ancestor Mohammed III, has always been and still remains the basis of the excellent rapport existing between our two governments and nations.

What makes this friendship exemplary is the fact that it has never been affected by juncture or vicissitude, nor has it been changing in dimension or level. It has rather been similar to itself, unaffected by world crises and requirements of the cold war.

We are looking forward to the talks we shall have with Your Excellency, and with a number of officials from the executive and legislative branch. We have no doubts that these talks will reveal the likeness of our views concerning political and economic issues.

Mr. President, you know better than anyone that the Gulf crisis has made men all over the world realize that it is mandatory to rely on international legality for the solving of world issues and for the sake of peace and understanding among the nations. We sincerely hope that the same legality is applied in the case of the Middle East. It is indeed hard to believe that the tragedy of the Middle East has lasted half a century.

As to the Kingdom of Morocco, we shall ever be ready to contribute to any peaceful solution liable to give each one his due and bring about a just and lasting peace in this area. We will constantly be on your side, mobilized in order to seek this peace in the Middle East.

I pray you, Mr. President, and dear friend, to accept our thanks for your invitation, your warm welcome, and your generous hospitality. We wish you excellent health and success, and we wish the American people much prosperity.

Note: The President spoke at 10:44 a.m. on the South Lawn of the White House, where King Hassan was accorded a formal welcome with full military honors. In his remarks, the President referred to Secretary-General Javier Perez de la Guerra of the United Nations, and Lalla Meryem, King Hassan's daughter. King Hassan spoke in Arabic, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.

George Bush, Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony for King Hassan II of Morocco Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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