Remarks of the President and Prime Minister Mohamed Mzali of Tunisia Following Their Meeting

April 29, 1982

The President. Prime Minister Mzali and I met at 11:30 today, and we have just lunched together. And I welcome this opportunity to meet the Prime Minister. His visit to Washington has initiated a personal exchange of views that I look forward to continuing.

I was particularly gratified by his visit because I didn't have the opportunity to meet with Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba when he visited the United States privately earlier this year. It's a special pleasure to meet with the leader of a country with which our relations have been and are characterized by continuing trust and friendship.

I'm proud that the United States has been able to play a role in the outstanding economic growth and development of Tunisia. And I have told the Prime Minister that he can count on us as Tunisia faces the external threats that have emerged in the past few years. He and I renewed our hope for an increased level of trade and commerce between our nations as a means of benefiting our peoples and sealing our friendship.

We exhanged views on the Middle East, and I reassured the Prime Minister of our determination to spare no exertion in seeking to bring a just and lasting peace to the Middle East.

I regret only the shortness of his visit. Mr. Prime Minister, you certainly are most welcome here in the United States.

The Prime Minister. I had the honor to be received this morning by President Reagan, to whom I brought the very friendly greetings of President Bourguiba and to whom I expressed our thanks for the efforts that the United States has made to contribute to the social and economic development of Tunisia.

The contribution of the United States began right at independence and has assumed different forms and has been carried out at different levels. I'm very happy and very satisfied to note that as a contribution to the success of our Sixth Plan, Tunisia can continue to count on the assistance of the United States.

I was happy to listen to the views of President Reagan on a number of issues effecting world peace and the situation in different regions of the world, especially the Middle East -- the situation on the Iraqi-Iranian border and the situation in the Mediterranean. We exchanged information. We exchanged viewpoints. It was a very interesting meeting.

In conclusion, I should like to express my full gratification at the very warm and friendly welcome which was extended to myself and to my colleagues who traveled with me. We received a very warm welcome not only from President Reagan and members of his Cabinet and the senior officials of his government but also from Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

I hope very much that my visit will have strengthened the traditional bonds of friendship between our two countries and that it will be further strengthened by future contacts at all levels.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 1:17 p.m. to reporters assembled at the South Portico of the White House. Earlier, the President and the Prime Minister met in the Oval Office and attended a luncheon in the State Dining Room at the White House.