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Visit of Prime Minister Hedi Nouira of Tunisia Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony.

November 29, 1978

THE PRESIDENT. It's with a great deal of pleasure that I, on behalf of the people of our country, welcome to the United States a distinguished visitor, Prime Minister Nouira from Tunisia, who comes here representing a great country which has close and longstanding ties of friendship and common purpose with the people of our Nation.

Ever since Tunisia won its independence under the inspired leadership of President Bourguiba, the relations between the two nations have grown ever closer. We share common purposes, common ideals, common hopes, and a common future. This has been especially true during the last 8 years, since Mr. Nouira because Prime Minister of Tunisia.

I think among all those nations who have had a close economic aid relationship with the United States, Tunisia has excelled in the rapid technological and economic development among their people. They have made full and increasing use of the great natural resources and human resources of their country. And along with this economic development has come a very rapid evolution into a leadership role among the developing nations of the world, the Arab community, and within the United Nations especially.

So, the political and economic leadership which has exemplified Tunisia's role accurately expresses the strength and the purpose, the innovation and commitment of the people of that great country.

Tunisia is recognized as having a government and leaders that are at the same time practical and effective and idealistic and never deviating from proper principles of government. This leadership under Prime Minister Nouira and President Bourguiba has also been exemplified by great courage.

As a member of the Arab nation community, as far back as 1965, President Bourguiba called for a recognition of Israel, its right to exist, its right to be recognized as a nation. We have received good advice, good counsel, good support from Tunisia during our own times of effort to bring peace to the Middle East and to the northern portion of the continent of Africa.

I'm looking forward to my opportunity today to discuss with the Prime Minister these same concerns that we share and the same prospects for further progress in the future. We also are exploring ways for increased economic cooperation, military counsel and communication, the sharing, for both peace and security, agricultural development in Tunisia and cultural exchange. At the same time we have Peace Corps volunteers in Tunisia teaching English and performing' other roles, there are volunteers from Tunisia now working in Louisiana, teaching French. This is typical of the human, economic, and political interrelationships that exist between our countries.

And again, on behalf of the American people, I welcome Prime Minister Nouira, an experienced statesman, a courageous leader who works with us and for his people for peace, prosperity, and domestic and international justice.

Mr. Prime Minister, welcome to our country.

THE PRIME MINISTER. Mr. President, your words of welcome are a moving testimony of the sympathy and support that the United States has for Tunisia. On behalf of my country, in the name of President Bourguiba, whose work of wisdom you have just saluted, I want to thank you. In my turn I extend to the American people the very friendly greeting of the Tunisian nation.

Coming to Washington, I have the very natural feeling to be among friends of Tunisia. Longstanding relations have drawn our countries ever closer. Humanistic America gave us her support and sympathy during our struggle for national liberation.

Modern Tunisia has found in your country an active solidarity. Since the time when free to shape our destiny, we have worked to secure our economic and social development. And so today we follow this tradition of exchanges, exchange of views and consultation, and thus I have the privilege to reestablish a personal contact with the chief of state for whom Tunisia has great consideration. It gives me again the opportunity to express to you the deep appreciation we feel for the task you have undertaken for the prosperity of the American people and the advent of peace in the world.

Mr. President, America concerns all of us, all those who want harmonious development in the world, nuclear peace, the suppression of crisis in the Middle East as well as in Africa, the spiritual and material ascent of the Third World, and the making available to men of the phenomenal conquest of technology. All those can only follow with sustained interest everything that the United States is doing at home and overseas.

Since you assumed the leadership of the great American people, new developments have marked the evolution of the world. There is a new will, a new sensitivity inspiring the policies of the United States. We have come to learn the scope of this large task whose essential objective is to ensure the survival of man and his fulfillment in security and dignity.

In turn, we shall tell you how we feel about the situation in our own geopolitical context, speaking from the perspective of an Arab and African nation, basing ourselves upon our own realities and experience. I look forward to receiving your impressions and those of the American leaders, and I do not doubt that our meetings will have a very fruitful outcome.

As I thank you again, Mr. President, for the great welcome you have extended to me, to my wife, and to my delegation, allow me to renew the best wishes of Tunisia to the 200 million Americans who, for us Tunisians, are 200 million friends.

Note: The President spoke at 10:39 a.m. on the South Lawn of the White House. Prime Minister Nouira spoke in French, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.

Jimmy Carter, Visit of Prime Minister Hedi Nouira of Tunisia Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/244379

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