The President today is meeting with the Ambassadors to discuss his initiatives for peace in the Middle East. He wants the Ambassadors of the various countries to be aware of his commitment and the commitment of the United States to the furtherance of the peace process in that critical region of the world. He wishes the Ambassadors to convey this to their respective governments. The President will welcome their views on this matter.
The mission of Ambassador Habib continues today with the important goals as outlined by the President when he asked the Ambassador to undertake this important venture. This is to seek a reduction of the tensions and a lessening of the possibility of conflict arising out of developments in Lebanon which affect the entire region. The President regards this goal to be of utmost importance. He wishes that the Habib mission will continue in cooperation with the concerned parties, whom we hope share our sense of the mission's continued importance.
[The President said,] ``The incident [Referring to the Israeli bombing of the Osirak nuclear facility near Baghdad, Iraq] earlier this week is evidence the only answer in the Middle East is to achieve a true peace. As long as there is suspicion among the nations, the specter of further tragedies will hang over us.''
Note: Deputy Press Secretary Larry M. Speakes read the statement at the daily press briefing in the Briefing Room at the White House.
Prior to reading the statement, Mr. Speakes announced that the President would be holding afternoon meetings at the Oval Office with, first, Ambassadors Abdulaziz Abdulrahman Buali of Bahrain, Sheikh Faisal Alhegelan of Saudi Arabia, Ali Bengelloun of Morocco, Al-Sharif Fawaz Sharaf of Jordan, and Omer Salih Eissa of Sudan and, then, Ambassador Ephraim Evron of Israel.
Sources: Public Papers of the President