Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Mubarak, Reagan Pledge to Continue to Work for Middle East Peace

February 4, 1982
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

President Reagan welcomed President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt to the White House today as both Presidents pledged to continue the friendship and cooperation between Egypt and the United States established by the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. They also declared that they would continue to work for Middle East peace, including an agreement on autonomy for the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

While Reagan stressed his Administration’s continued support of the Camp David process, Mubarak did not mention Camp David in his remarks. He called for a Palestinian “national entity,” a term many interpret as meaning a Palestinian state.

However, a senior Administration official, briefing the press after the meetings between the two Presidents, would not give his own interpretation of the term, saying that there are many different definitions. At the same time, the official stressed that in the talks between Reagan and Mubarak as well as during meetings with Secretary of State Alexander Haig in Egypt and Israel last week, all sides reaffirmed their “mutual recommitment to the Camp David” process as the only means of addressing the Palestinian issue.

The official welcome to Mubarak was held in the East Room of the White House because of rain. However, President and Mrs. Reagan greeted the Egyptian leader outside in a “mini” ceremony that included the traditional 21-gun salute.

The two Presidents met privately for 30 minutes. They were joined by senior aides for another 30 minutes and then by a larger group for another half hour. Reagan and Mubarak will get together again tonight at a state dinner at the White House and will have a final meeting tomorrow morning.


In welcoming Mubarak, Reagan declared, “Your visit and the current excellent relations between our two governments are testimony that the friendship between Egypt and the United States is more than a compact between individuals. It is a commitment between nations.”

Mubarak, in his reply, said the friendship which Sadat “worked vigorously” with Reagan and his predecessors to achieve “will continue unchanged … We are here to reaffirm our commitment to work together for peace and reconciliation.”

In his welcoming remarks, Reagan noted that the U.S. has worked to help Israel and Egypt achieve a peace agreement and is willing to expand that effort to seek peace between Israel and all Arab states. “Camp David, we believe, is a first step toward that goal,” he said.

Reagan also said that as Israel withdraws from Sinai, “We must commit ourselves to push on in a spirit of understanding. We must address the remaining issues in the negotiations for autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza and chart a course that will build upon that which has already been accomplished.”

Reagan stressed that others should be brought into the Camp David process. “In the months ahead, we must maintain our flexibility yet never lose sight of the goal of establishing a lasting and comprehensive peace that will provide security and justice and a better life for all peoples of the region. Without setting deadlines, I personally believe the time has come to get on with the task before us, and the sooner the better,” Reagan said.

Mubarak, in his remarks, stressed that “the key to peace and stability” in the Middle East “is to solve the Palestinian problem.” He said that “both sides (Israelis and Palestinians) have an inherent right to exist and function as a national entity, free from domination and fears.” He said “the right to self-determination” for the Palestinians “is the best guarantee for Israel’s security.”

Neither President, at the welcoming ceremonies, mentioned the assassination of Sadat last October. However, Reagan did note that “terrorists will not be permitted to determine the future of mankind.”


Senior Administration officials, briefing the press, said the two Presidents, first of all, met to establish a relationship as Presidents. They had met once before, last October when Mubarak visited Washington as Vice President a few days before Sadat’s assassination.

The topics they discussed today at both their private and more expanded meetings included U.S. economic assistance to Egypt, military aid, the peace process and regional security. With respect to the latter, the threat to the region from Libya was emphasized, the officials said. Economic aid is expected to play a major role in the talks Mubarak will have before he leaves Washington Friday night.

Reagan, in his welcoming address today, noted that the U.S. will try to be “more responsive to our mutual needs” and noted that William Brock, the special U.S. Trade Representative, will be visiting Egypt in the spring in an effort to strengthen trade and economic ties between the two countries.

Reagan also stressed in his speech that the U.S. and Egypt share “a mutual concern as we observe the expansion of a totalitarian power.” He noted that “the people of Poland and Afghanistan now suffocate under the oppressive whims of this fearful master. Within the Middle East, this same power encourages hatred and conflict, hoping to take advantage of instability,” he said.

The Reagan-Mubarak meeting tomorrow was scheduled only late yesterday after the Administration had announced that Reagan would have a one-day meeting with the Egyptian President. There was some difference of opinion among senior Administration officials whether this was a new policy, although one official noted Monday that the President was pressed for time. Today, an official said they always “held open the possibility of a second day meeting.”

Mubarak left the White House for a working lunch with Haig at the State Department. He is also meeting today at Blair House with Vice President George Bush and Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger.

Recommended from JTA