The President. I have just had a very productive meeting with King Hussein of Jordan. Jordan has been moving steadily and courageously forward in a search for a peaceful, negotiated settlement of the conflict in the Middle East. Jordan has not wavered from this course despite terrorist attacks against its diplomats and its interests abroad and the threat of worse to come. I told His Majesty in May that he could count on us for the economic and security assistance Jordan would need to address the risks that it is taking. Indeed, over the summer, the Congress improved an important package of economic aid for Jordan; but on Friday I notified the Congress that I would now be proposing a package of defensive arms. And these arms are important in meeting Jordan's proven defense needs and as evidence that those who seek peace will not be left at the mercy of those who oppose it.
But peace, not arms, has been the focus of our discussions with our Jordanian friends. And all of us — Jordan, the United States, and Israel — share the same realistic objective: direct negotiations under appropriate auspices before the end of this year. There are complex and sensitive issues which must be resolved before actual negotiations can begin, but I believe these issues can be resolved.
Let me repeat that the United States is dedicated to achieving a just and durable peace between Israel and all its Arab neighbors. We'll do all that we can to maintain the momentum already achieved, much of it the result of King Hussein's personal courage and vision. The goal is peace and stability for Jordan, Israel, and all states in the Middle East. The way to that goal is through direct negotiations on the basis on U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. The time to begin is now. I know that His Majesty shares this aim, and I am proud to work with him in this noble endeavor of peace.
Your Majesty, once again, you have my thanks and the thanks of all our people.
The King. I wish to thank my dear and great friend, President Reagan, for his kind words. I value his friendship and the longstanding relations which happily exist between our two countries and which are based on our joint commitment to the common values and principles of liberty, freedom, equality, and human rights.
I have had a very useful meeting with the President. Our discussions were as frank and honest as our friendship dictates. I have reiterated to him Jordan's commitment to a negotiated settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict within the context of an international conference to implement Security Council Resolution 242. I repeated to the President what I stated in my address to the United Nations 3 days ago; namely, Jordan's unwavering position and condemnation of terrorism, irrespective of its nature and source. Jordan condemns violence and is committed to a peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. We are prepared to join all parties in pursuing a negotiated settlement in an environment free of belligerent and hostile acts.
I have also expressed Jordan's satisfaction with the positive development of our bilateral relations, especially in the economic and military fields. We endeavor to strengthen our ties and hope to continue our close cooperation in all areas. I wish you, Mr. President, continued good health, happiness, and success. And may the Almighty God bless you and grant you strength to lead this bastion of democracy to ever greater heights.
Thank you, sir.
Note: The President spoke at 10:52 a.m. at the South Portico of the White House. Earlier, the President and King Hussein met in the Oval Office.
Sources: Public Papers of the President