Remarks of President Reagan and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt Following Their Meetings

January 27, 1983

President Reagan. President Mubarak and I have just had a comprehensive and a useful discussion, first in our office and then over lunch. And, as might be expected given our full partnership in search for regional peace and security, there was broad agreement on the critical issues facing us in the Middle East and in Africa.

We reviewed the situation in Lebanon, and I assured President Mubarak of my determination to support the territorial integrity, the independence, and the sovereignty of Lebanon to the end. And to that end, there must be early withdrawal of all foreign forces.

We also discussed the urgent need to achieve a comprehensive peace settlement for the Middle East which would permit all the states in the region to live in peace, while meeting the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. In that regard, I thanked President Mubarak for his support of my September peace initiative and promised to work closely with him to expand the peace process.

On Africa, I reaffirmed our support for Egypt's constructive efforts as the leading African power to promote the stability and development of African countries and institutions.

On the bilateral questions, I reiterated the importance of our economic and military assistance for Egypt and assured the President that our assistance will complement his economic policy and development priorities.

Specifically, we wish to support the priorities of the new Egyptian 5-year plan, with emphasis on the increasing agricultural and industrial productivity and the rehabilitation and expansion of the water and related disposal systems in Egypt's major urban centers.

In response to President Mubarak's request for more flexible economic assistance, our ministries will work together to find ways and means for rapidly dispersing such assistance. We also will explore with the Congress the ways to permit some reprograming of funds to high priority areas.

President Mubarak's visit, the second since he was elected to office, emphasizes the special nature of our relations with Egypt and the importance I assign his friendship and wise counsel.

Our two countries share a common dedication to building in the Middle East something that is peaceful and prosperous and secure from outside intervention. The Egyptian-American full partnership has accomplished much toward the realization of that ideal. We will continue to build on our record of accomplishment, and I look forward to working with our friend, my friend, President Mubarak, toward that end.

And welcome to our country once again.

President Mubarak. Thank you, Mr. President.

I was very pleased to meet again with my friend, President Reagan, and to pursue our discussions of issues of mutual concern. As the President just stated, we had an opportunity to review the situation in the Middle East with a view of enhancing the prospects for peace and stability in that troubled region.

We focused on the situation in Lebanon and the negotiations on the Palestinian question. I welcomed President Reagan's assurances of the U.S. determination to continue to play the role of the full partner in the peace process. I also welcomed his reaffirmation of the United States commitment to support the territorial integrity, independence, and sovereignty of Lebanon.

The time factor is crucial to the success of our endeavors. Top priority must be given to reaching agreement on the withdrawal of Israeli forces. Upon achieving that, other aspects of the problem would be easier to solve.

We have always seen the necessity to make meaningful progress towards a comprehensive settlement. In this respect, the centrality of the Palestinian problem in the entire dispute becomes self-evident. With this in mind, we supported President Reagan's initiative on September 1st, 1982. We earnestly hope that the weeks ahead will witness movement towards the negotiating table by all the parties concerned.

I am pleased to say that I was encouraged by what I heard from King Hussein of Jordan and the Palestinian leadership, together with several other Arab leaders. I believe that a golden opportunity exists, and it would be a grave mistake to miss it.

I also believe that the peace process would be enforced if the United States moves further in the direction of supporting the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

We agreed that the Israeli settlement policy is a serious obstacle to peace. Therefore, efforts must be exerted to bring about a total freeze of settlement activities.

I discussed with the President certain aspects of the war between Iran and Iraq and the need to exert additional efforts for the purpose of achieving an immediate termination of hostilities.

On bilateral matters, we discussed issues related to economic and to military cooperation. I expressed to President Reagan our gratitude to the American people for their unwavering support. This will enhance our ability to cope with the economic problems we are confronting. The United States has proven it is a real and reliable friend. We are determined to deepen that friendship and intensify our cooperation.

Thank you.

Q. Mr. President, have you changed your mind about corporate taxes?

The President. I said yesterday that I would kick myself for saying that. I have. [Laughter]

Note: President Reagan spoke at 1:28 p.m. to reporters assembled at the South Portico of the White House.

Earlier in the day, the President met with President Mubarak in the Oval Office. Participants in the meeting included, on the American side, the Vice President, Secretary of State George P. Shultz, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs William P. Clark, and Ambassador Philip C. Habib, the President's Special Representative for the Middle East, and, on the Egyptian side, Deputy Prime Minister Kamal Hasan 'Ali, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Butrus Butrus Ghali, and Egyptian Ambassador to the United States Ashraf 'Abd al-Latif Ghorbal.

The two Presidents then went to the Cabinet Room for a meeting with an expanded group of their advisers. The meeting was followed by a working luncheon in the Residence.