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Remarks of the President and Prime Minister George Cadle Price of Belize Following Their Meetings

May 12, 1983

The President. I appreciate the opportunity to speak with Prime Minister Rice -- Price, of Belize, to listen to his views and to exchange ideas.

Our two countries share fundamental values. Foremost among them, a deep and abiding commitment to democratic government. And this has been very much emphasized in the conversations that we've had so far today.

In contrast to the war and turmoil elsewhere in the region, Belize, Central America's newest independent democracy, serves as a model of peace and stability. Belize is a developing country struggling with serious economic problems. And I'm hopeful that we can, as a neighbor, be of help, especially in those areas effecting the private sector.

Equally important, Belize should benefit under the trade provisions of the Caribbean Basin Initiative now before the Congress. But Prime Minister Price and I have discussed in some detail his country's economic challenges.

We also touched on another struggle Belize has been waging, the battle against marijuana. And I'm impressed and encouraged by the efforts of Prime Minister Price's government to suppress the cultivation of cannibas, a drug which threatens the foundations of both our societies.

Our meeting was productive and cordial. Our conversations have reaffirmed the close relations between our two countries, the friendship of our people, and our mutual commitment to freedom and human rights.

And, once again, Mr. Prime Minister, it's been a great pleasure to have you and your group of ministers.

The Prime Minister. Thank you, Mr. President.

We are happy to be received by the President of the United States of America. And our exchange of views served to further the good relations between our two countries, the United States of America and Belize.

Our two countries share the same side of planet Earth. We can draw wisdom and strength from the basic values of a common heritage, the same language and common law, a kindred parliamentary democracy, and a mixed economy.

Belize is thankful for the Caribbean Basin Initiative and the helpful cooperation of your people and your government in our daily task to maintain stability and security, which result from mutual respect and recognition of Belize's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

It is our policy to live in peace with our neighbors and to develop with equal standing our resources as together we create wealth to share in social justice.

To continue this difficult task, we need that wisdom and strength which the Father of your nation, President George Washington, told in his parting address; and I quote, ``Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensible supports.''

With these supports and with faith in God may both our nations continue to do valiantly and thus achieve the well-being and the happiness of our peoples.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 12:49 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 then held a working luncheon, together with U.S. and Belizean officials, in the Residence.