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Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony for President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak of Egypt

February 03, 1982

President Reagan. It's an honor and a pleasure to welcome you, Mr. President, Mrs. Mubarak, and those who accompanied you from Egypt.

Your visit today reaffirms our friendship, and all Americans thank you for that reaffirmation. Your visit and the current excellent relations between our two governments are testimony that the friendship between Egypt and the United States is more than a compact between individuals. It is a commitment between nations.

In your inaugural address to the Egyptian parliament, President Mubarak, you told the parliament, "We are all sons of the same destiny and history." Well, I believe that's true of all mankind as well. And today all good and decent people join in proclaiming that terrorists will not be permitted to determine the future of mankind.

Mr. President, there's much to discuss. Our talks will touch on issues of global, regional, and bilateral significance. We share a mutual concern as we observe the expansion of a totalitarian power based on an ideology that smothers freedom and independence and denies the existence of God. The people of Poland and Afghanistan now suffocate under the oppressive whim of this fearful master. Within the Mideast, this same power encourages hatred and conflict, hoping to take some advantage of instability.

The United States stands firmly with Egypt and other Mideastern nations concerned with regional security. As Secretary Haig emphasized on his recent visit, we have never sought a military, permanent presence, but we do ask and are grateful for mutually agreed arrangements that will enhance the security of the nations in that region.

In an address last December, Mr. President, you stated that one of the characteristics of great nations is their ability to learn from history. But if history teaches us anything, it is that good people must cooperate if peace is to be maintained and if progress is to be made.

Over the last decade, the United States played a part in the peace process which has led to peace between Egypt and Israel. We are willing to continue in that role to seek a lasting peace in the Middle East between Israel and all its Arab neighbors. And Camp David, we believe, is a first step toward that goal. It has brought recognizable and measurable progress. As Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai takes place later this year, we must commit ourselves to push on. In a spirit of understanding, we must address the remaining issues in the negotiations for autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza and chart a course that will build upon that which has already been accomplished.

Others should be brought into the Camp David process, because no matter how long and arduous, it offers the best opportunity for tangible results. In the months ahead, we must maintain our flexibility, yet never lose sight of the goal of establishing a lasting and comprehensive peace that will provide security and justice and a better life for all peoples of the region. Without setting deadlines, I personally believe the time has come to get on with the task before us and the sooner the better.

Secretary Haig has explained to me your sincere commitment now that you have peace with Israel to seek a broader peace in the region. President Mubarak, the United States also remains eager to do whatever we can to help Egypt enjoy the fruits of peace. We offer the helping hand of friendship, and we're optimistic that working with you, we can streamline our joint economic efforts, make them more flexible, more efficient, and more responsive to our mutual needs, so that all can share in the bounty of peace.

In the coming spring, America's trade ambassador, William Brock, will visit your country with the expressed purpose of strengthening our trade and economic ties. And, Mr. President, we also share your concern for the well-being of your neighbors in the Sudan. In this world of advanced technology, communication, and transportation, all nations are neighbors. Furthermore, with you and all those who would be our friends, we hope to be a good neighbor.

Mr. President, I grew up in a small town in the Midwest of our country, and in the tiny school where I received my initial education, our history books taught us about the magnificent 7,000-year-old culture that grew and prospered along the Nile. I remember wondering what kind of people they were—those people who laid the foundation for Western civilization. Well, today, we Americans know the Egyptian people well, their courage and nobility, and we're proud to have you as our friends.

President Mubarak. President Reagan, thank you very much for the warm reception and the kind words. It is a source of great pleasure to visit your great country once again in less than 4 months.

As you know, Mr. President, the sentiments which you have expressed are shared by 44 million Egyptians. They look upon the United States with admiration and respect. They remember very vividly the words of President Abraham Lincoln, who spoke of a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. They recall also that President John Kennedy urged all nations to join in creating a new endeavor—not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved.

Mr. President, during the past few years our late leader, President Sadat, worked vigorously with you and your predecessors to forge an ever-growing friendship. In doing so he was expressing the will of the Egyptian people. Hence this policy will continue unchanged. We are determined to build upon what has been achieved and add to it every day. We are here to reinforce our friendship and intensify our cooperation in all fields. We are here, Mr. President, to cement the bonds of interaction between our two nations. We are here to reaffirm our commitment to work together for peace and reconciliation.

The steps we took on the road to peace in the Middle East generated a historic change in that troubled part of the world. However, they must be followed up in the months ahead. We must double our efforts in order to fulfill our pledge to establish a just and a comprehensive peace. The key to peace and stability in the area is to solve the Palestinian problem.

A just solution to this problem must be based on mutual recognition and acceptance. Both sides have an inherent right to exist and function as a national entity, free from domination and fear. The exercise of the right to self-determination cannot be denied to the Palestinian people. In fact, it is the best guarantee for Israeli security. This is the lesson of history and the course of the future.

To make it a living reality the Palestinians need your help and your understanding. We are certain that you will not fail them—you will not defeat the expectations of those who look upon you as a nation of freedom-fighters and peacemakers.

I'm looking forward to the talks that we'll have today with hope and optimism. Much depends on the success of our efforts and the clarity of our vision. I have no doubt that we shall meet the challenge with resolve and determination.

Mr. President, on behalf of the Egyptian people, I invite you and Mrs. Reagan to visit Egypt in order to enable the Egyptian people to express to you the genuine feeling towards every American in the United States.

Thank you very much, Mr. President.

Note: President Reagan spoke at 10:10 a.m. in the East Room at the White House, where, because of inclement weather, President Mubarak was given the formal welcome.

Following the ceremony, the two Presidents met in the Oval Office, first privately and then with the Vice President, Secretarial of State Alexander M. Haig, Jr., Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs William P. Clark, Deputy Secretary of Defense Frank C. Carlucci, Secretary of the Treasury Donald T. Regan, U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Alfred L. Atherton, Jr., Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamal Hasan 'Ali, First Foreign Under Secretary Osama El-Baz, and Egyptian Ambassador to the United States Ashraf 'Abd al-Latif Ghorbal. President Reagan and President Mubarak then met in the Cabinet Room with their full delegations.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony for President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak of Egypt Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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