Remarks of President Reagan and President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire Following Their Meeting

August 4, 1983

President Reagan. President Mobutu and I have just had a warm and useful discussion. And I am pleased to have been able to meet again with President Mobutu, who's been a faithful friend to the United States for some 20 years. The President and I took this opportunity to review the state of U.S.-Zairian relations, and we found a large area of agreement on the major points we discussed.

I expressed our admiration for President Mobutu's courageous action in sending troops to assist the Government of Chad in its struggle against Libyan-backed rebels. On the home front, the President has informed me of progress on his government's economic stabilization plan. Zaire is taking the difficult but necessary steps to ensure sustained economic progress, and it's important that we and Zaire's other friends do what we can to help.

President Mobutu and I also discussed his country's political situation, and I told him of the positive reaction in the United States to his recent decision to offer amnesty to his political opponents.

This visit has permitted the President and me to reaffirm our common desire for peace and stability in Africa. And I am confident that the close relations between our two countries, based on shared interests and perceptions, will advance the cause of peace and development in Africa. And we're very pleased to have him visit us once again as he did a year and a half ago.

Mr. President?

President Mobutu. I have expressed to President Reagan during our meeting, first of all, my thanks for the wonderful and warm welcome extended to us in the atmosphere of great friendship that we have experienced throughout our stay in Washington.

We surveyed world events. We talked about the economic situation in Zaire, about the program for financial and economic recovery which is being worked out with the IMF. We talked of Chad, of the aggression against that country, a founder of the OAU and a member of the United Nations. We talked also of Namibia, South Africa, and Central America. In brief, we surveyed world events. Some decisions have been made for economic aid to Zaire, and some more decisions will be made in that context.

I extended to President Reagan and to his associates my congratulations and thanks for all they have done to facilitate our stay in every way during our visit here.

Thank you.

Note: President Reagan spoke at 12:02 p.m. to reporters assembled on the South Grounds of the White House. President Mobutu spoke in French, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter. The two Presidents and U.S. and Zairian officials had met in the Oval Office.