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Visit of President Sadat of Egypt Remarks to Reporters Following a Meeting

April 09, 1980

PRESIDENT CARTER. Again our Nation is honored and pleased to have President Anwar Sadat come here representing the great nation of Egypt. His personal courage and his understanding of difficult issues, his patience in negotiations, and his very sound advice and wisdom which he shares with me, all are very helpful to our Nation in seeking peace not only in the Middle East but throughout the world.

The closeness of our diplomatic relations and between our peoples is indeed reassuring to us as Americans. We've had perhaps the most far-reaching discussions this last 2 days, in my own experience as President, concerning many issues that affect our two nations. We have concentrated especially on further progress for peace in the Mideast between Israel and all her neighbors. This is a good exploratory opportunity for us to define the issues more specifically and to detect any differences that might exist between ourselves and the people of Egypt.

We are preparing now for a visit next week with Prime Minister Begin, who will be here with representatives of his government, and we expect this to be another step toward the realization of the hopes and expectations spelled out so plainly and specifically in the Camp David accords: the realization of security for Egypt and security for Israel, peace between all the nations in the region, a recognition of sovereign rights, a recognition of Israel's security behind recognized borders, a recognition of the realization of the Palestinian rights, the recognition that the Palestinians must have a voice in the determination of their own future, a resolution of the refugee question. All these elements, described so well in the Camp David accords, are our common goals.

These talks have been constructive. And of course no decisions could be reached yet, because Prime Minister Begin and the Israelis must be carefully consulted as well. The United States will continue to play a major role in these discussions, as necessary. And I look forward to seeing Prime Minister Begin when he arrives next week. We have kept him informed—I have—about the progress of our own talks here, and we have shared with him the basic elements of our discussion. I will be making a full report to Prime Minister Begin following President Sadat's departure, and after Prime Minister Begin's visit, I will, of course, make a full report to President Sadat.

I'd like to ask now our distinguished guest to say a word. We are honored, again, to have him here, and I'm deeply grateful for what he adds to my ability to lead this country. President Sadat.

PRESIDENT SADAT. In the last 2 days we have discussed and explored all possible alternatives to give momentum to the peace process. Let me tell you this in all candor: A year before, we signed here the treaty between Egypt and Israel. Every party has fulfilled his obligations scrupulously. But as I said, in all candor, we could have never achieved this without the help of President Carter and the American people behind him.

At this moment there are lots of difficulties and new developments in the area where we live, namely, Afghanistan, Iran, the threat to the gulf. All this, in my view, should enhance the efforts for reaching an agreement upon the full autonomy for the Palestinians; that has been the material of the second document of Camp David. As you know, the Palestinian question is the core and crux of the whole problem in the Middle East and the Arab-Israeli conflict. And let me add that with the help of the United States, with the help of President Carter and his decision and his principles, I'm sure we can reach agreement and overcome all the difficulties, like the difficulties we faced before.

President Carter's decision to act as full partner was a turning point in the history of this conflict, and it was behind all the achievements that we have reached in the last 2 years—that no one could have believed it could happen in a matter of 2 years, after such a long time in this dispute. Let me seize this opportunity and express my gratitude for my dear friend, President Carter, and for the very warm sentiments of the gallant American people, whom I am proud of being their friend. And as I promised before, I shall never let you down.

Thank you very much.

Note: President Carter spoke at 11:45 a.m. on the South Grounds of the White House.

Jimmy Carter, Visit of President Sadat of Egypt Remarks to Reporters Following a Meeting Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/250538

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