Question-and-Answer Session With Reporters on the Cease-fire in Lebanon

September 25, 1983

Q. Mr. President, what can you tell us about the cease-fire in the Middle East?

The President. Well, I was just waiting till everyone got in place to tell you that Secretary-General de Cuellar and myself, we have just called President Gemayel to congratulate him on what has taken place. It is a first step, and you see my fingers crossed. It is the beginning, of course. And the cease-fire will be announced, or has been announced, and now they can get down to the real business of settling the issues and, we hope, bringing about peace and the solution to the Lebanese problems.

We all are very happy for this first step that has come about, and I'm not going to make any projections or predictions. There is still a long road to go in settling many of the issues there. But as President Gemayel himself said, now with this first step they can have the beginning of that process.

Q. What roles will the Syrians play in the cease-fire and in the negotiations?

The President. Well, we commended President Gemayel for what he has done, but also we have to say the Syrians are evidently cooperating in this, and the Saudi Arabians. We must recognize that Saudi Arabia had a very definite hand in bringing about this first step, this cease-fire.

Q. And will the marines stay in while this cease-fire is -- --

The President. Well, I'll tell you, all questions like that will be answered for you at 5 o'clock this afternoon. Secretary Shultz is going to have a briefing on the subject.

Q. When did you first hear of it?

The President. I imagine about the same time that you did, although we learned earlier today that it looked like this agreement had been arrived at.

Q. Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: The President spoke at 2:10 p.m. in the Presidential Suite at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, where he had met, upon his arrival in New York, N.Y., with Javier Perez de Cuellar de la Guerra, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Following the meeting, the President and Mrs. Reagan went to the Archdiocese residence behind St. Patrick's Cathedral, where they met with Terence Cardinal Cooke.

Upon his return to the Waldorf-Astoria, the President met in the Presidential Suite with Prince Sihanouk of Kampuchea and Son Sann, President of the Khmer People's National Liberation Front. He then held another meeting in the suite with Samuel K. Doe, Head of State and Chairman of the People's Redemption Council of Liberia.