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Remarks of President Reagan and President Amin Gemayel of Lebanon Following Their Meetings

October 19, 1982

President Reagan. It's been a great pleasure for me to meet today with President Amin Gemayel of Lebanon. Our talks have covered a full range of issues, with particular focus on our shared objective of prompt withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon.

We also discussed Lebanon's goals in restoring authority and control of central government in all parts of the country. In this regard I reaffirmed the United States support for the sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity, and freedom of Lebanon. And I'm pleased to have had the opportunity to establish a close working dialog with President Gemayel, who deserves all of our support as he and the people of Lebanon work to rebuild their nation.

President Gemayel can rely upon the help of the United States. It is my hope that our mutual efforts will lead to restored peace and prosperity for all the people of Lebanon and indeed in all of the Middle East.

He has been most welcome here, and we're pleased to have had him with us.

Mr. President.

President Gemayel. I am honored to be the first President of Lebanon to make an official visit to the United States.

The Lebanese people deeply appreciate and will never forget your gracious and decisive efforts to help bring an end to the suffering of my country. American commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a free, democratic Lebanon has been fundamental to our survival. We see the U.S. role as the indispensable ingredient to being peace not only to Lebanon but also to the whole region as well. We firmly believe that President Reagan's initiative has created unprecedented opportunities for peace.

We in Lebanon intend to be active in the search for peace with all nations of the region. The relation between the United States and Lebanon is not only between our two governments; it is between our two peoples, who share the same heritage and adhere to the same values and principles of democracy and liberty. The 2\1/2\ million Lebanese have almost equal number of close relatives in the United States. We value enormously the unique tie provided by these American Lebanese, among the most loyal of all Americans, and we believe they have a leading role in keeping our two countries together.

Lebanon has been the most recent and, for us, the most painful example of the assault upon free men by the forces of darkness and occupation. We have fought to retain our freedom, and the strength of our resistance has earned for us not only a restated pride in ourselves but also a reentry into the ranks of the free world. With equal resolve, I, together with my people, am committed to the immediate removal of all foreign forces from our soil and to work hand in hand with all sectors of Lebanese society to build a nation in which all citizens have equal privileges, rights, and responsibilities.

The historic U.S.-Lebanon relationship is the cornerstone of building this new Lebanon. America's friendship and assistance not only in peacekeeping and peacemaking but also in reconstruction and rebuilding our armed forces are vital. We, on our part, intend to carry our share of the responsibility of this partnership by a full and reciprocal contribution to all U.S. goals in its many noble endeavors as the leader of the free world.

Thank you.

Note: President Reagan spoke at 10:18 a.m. on the South Grounds of the White House.

Earlier, the two Presidents held a breakfast meeting in the Residence, joined by the Vice President, Secretary of State George P. Shultz, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs William P. Clark, and Lebanese Minister of Foreign and Expatriate Affairs Elie Adib Salem. Then, following a private meeting in the Oval Office, the two Presidents met, together with their delegations, in the Cabinet Room.