Discussions With President Mobutu SeseSeko of Zaire
December 9, 1986
Reagan. President Mobutu and I have had the opportunity to review and renew one
of our oldest and most solid friendships in Africa, that between the United States and the Republic of Zaire. Cooperation between
the United States and Zaire under President
Mobutu's leadership stretches back through 20 years and 5 United States administrations. In
that time American leaders have learned to place a particularly high value on
President Mobutu's insights and counsel.
Mobutu has brought a consistent voice of good sense and good will to the
international councils where African issues are considered, from the United
Nations to the Organization of African Unity to the nonaligned movement. He has
stood uniformly for the peaceful settlements of disputes, but has not shrunk
from his responsibilities when action was appropriate. In 1983, for example, he
dispatched troops to assist Chad in defending itself
against Libya's criminal aggression.
This year he came to the assistance of the Government of Togo as it faced an
externally mounted coup attempt.
of our discussion today focused on Zaire's heroic effort to
complete its program of economic policy reform. As you know, Zaire has been engaged for
nearly 4 years in a series of painful sacrifices and adjustments designed to
rationalize and revive its economy and to develop the potential of its private
sector. We have tried to help by supplementing our regular development
assistance with special funds earmarked for African States who are undertaking
serious steps toward reform. We've also encouraged our business community to
look at the growing investment opportunities in Zaire and will continue to do
so. Unfortunately, Zaire's determined economic efforts have been greatly
complicated by the severe drop in world market prices for its exports.
President Mobutu and his people face a heavy foreign debt burden. We have
encouraged Zaire to hold firm to the responsible, economic reforms it is
attempting, while promising to do our best to ease the way.
President Mobutu and I also examined the regional situation, especially in
southern Africa, where we share the
goals of a rapid, peaceful end to apartheid; the independence of Namibia; and national
reconciliation and removal of all foreign forces stationed in Angola. President Mobutu
brings great prestige and influence to bear on the range of southern African
problems, and I welcome his recent efforts in seeking solutions to these
issues. After today's meeting, we can be more confident that the future of
U.S.-Zairian relations will remain close, prosperous, and productive. President
Mobutu and his country's friendship with the United Statesis
most appreciated. And we're proud and pleased to have him with us here today.
you. God bless you.
Mobutu. Mr. President, on behalf of my wife and of my entire delegation, I
should like to thank you most sincerely for your warm and friendly welcome as
extended to us by you, personally, and by members of your Cabinet ever since we
arrived here in Washington. Together we have surveyed all issues that relate to
the bilateral relationship of our two countries, and I go home in full
awareness that I have the full support of your government and can assure the
people of Zaire that they can count on
you and on your government. Again, Mr. President, thank you very much for all
that has been done to facilitate our stay.
President Reagan spoke at in the Rose Garden at
the White House. President Mobutu spoke in French, and his remarks were
translated by an interpreter. Earlier, the two Presidents met in the Oval
Office and then held an expanded meeting in the Cabinet Room. They then had
lunch in the Roosevelt Room.