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Ronald Reagan Administration: Press Conference with Israeli President Yitzhak Navon Following Their Meetings

(January 5, 1983)

President Reagan. Mr. President, it's been my great pleasure to welcome you today to the White House and to the United States as you begin your visit that will take you on to Boston and New York. And today we've had an excellent opportunity to make each other's acquaintance and to break bread together. And I know now that Nancy and Mrs. Navon are going to have a chance to meet before you depart from the United States, and I know both are looking forward to that.

Your presence here as President of Israel symbolizes the close ties that have always linked our two nations. Ours is a friendship that has deepened over time. It's daily expressed in our unswerving commitment to the security and well-being of the State of Israel. Of course, the security of Israel is inescapably connected with peace in the Middle East, the principal goal of both our peoples.

A succession of American Presidents have committed this nation to assisting in the achievement of that goal. And I can assure you that our commitment to peace is one that I'm proud to carry forward.

Mr. President, we wish you and Mrs. Navon an interesting and productive visit and a safe return to Israel. Thank you for coming.

President Navon. Mr. President, I am very grateful to you for your kind invitation. It has been an opportunity to exchange views on important issues that relate to the mutual countries, to the peace in the Middle East, to the prospects for peace and security.

In Israel, as you very well know, Mr. President, though there are different views as to policies -- whether those who accepted the American views as a basis for negotiations, whether those who didn't find it possible to accept them as a basis -- none of them has any doubt as to your dedication to peace, your sincerity and your commitment to peace and to the security of Israel. We're grateful to you personally, Mr. President, we are grateful to the great American people for the generous aid that has been always rendering to my people. And that feeling of gratitude I wanted to express to you, Mr. President.

Thank you.

Note: President Reagan spoke at 1:28 p.m. to reporters assembled at the South Portico of the White House.

Earlier, President Reagan met privately with President and Mrs. Navon in the Oval Office. The two Presidents were then joined by their senior advisers, including the Vice President, Secretary of State George P. Shultz, and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs William P. Clark. The Presidents, together with their delegations, then met in the Cabinet Room and attended a luncheon in the State Dining Room.

Sources: Public Papers of the President