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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 15, 1995
                      REMARKS BY PRESIDENT CLINTON

The South Lawn

10:46 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Your Majesty, Your Royal Highnesses, members of the Moroccan delegation, distinguished guests: On behalf of the United States, it is my honor to welcome back to Washington a good friend of America, and one of the Islamic world's most respected leaders, King Hassan II. (Applause.)

Your Majesty, the ties that link our two nations go back to the dawn of our independence. Before the cornerstone of this White House was laid, President George Washington and your ancestor, Sultan Mohammad III, signed a treaty of peace and friendship.

In the decades since, our two nations have sought to live up to that treaty's ideals by building on our friendship and working for peace and prosperity in your region and throughout the world. Now, much of what we have labored for and dreamed of is closer than ever to becoming reality -- thanks, in good measure, to your wisdom and to your vision.

Your Majesty, you have worked tirelessly to secure a lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East, from helping to arrange President Sadat's historic journey to Jerusalem, to building trust through quiet diplomacy, from establishing ties with Israel, to hosting the Casa Blanca Economic Summit. Now, we must accelerate the momentum for peace in the Middle East, the momentum which you have done so much to nurture and sustain.

As Morocco and the United States work for peace, we are also forging stronger bonds of commerce between our peoples. Morocco has embraced free markets, and today, your economy stands poised to reap the benefits of this wise decision. Your Majesty, I look forward to discussing new opportunities for trade and investment which will support good jobs and create wealth in both our nations.

Your Majesty, under your leadership, Morocco has served as a force for tolerance and progress rooted in Islamic values. At a time when cooperation and moderation are taking hold in more countries than ever before, but when violence and extremism still threaten all that we are working for, your example and your commitment to peace are more important than ever before.

Your Majesty, the United States is glad to have you as a friend, honored to have you as a partner as we work to shape the world for the better. Welcome to the White House. Welcome to America. (Applause.)

KING HASSAN: Praise be to God. May the blessings and the peace be upon our lord, Mohammad, his kin and companions. Your Excellency, the President of the United States of America, and our great friend: It is with considerable pleasure and exceptional joy that we begin today our state visit to the United States of America, in response to the kind invitation of our great friend, President Bill Clinton.

We are deeply moved, Mr. President, by the warm and spontaneous welcome that you have reserved for us, a welcome that reflects that we know of your affection for Morocco and esteem for its monarch. Let me assure you, Mr. President, that Morocco and its King harbor the same feelings towards your country, so dear to us, and towards your honorable person.

The origins of these sincere feelings are old and longlasting. We hasten to recognize the independence of the United States upon its being declared by its leaders more than two centuries ago. In 1786, our forefather, Mohammed III, signed in the city of Marrakesh a treaty of amity, navigation and trade with your country. Now this treaty went into effect when the United States of America opened its very first consulate in the city of Tangiers in 1797.

The distinction of this treaty lies in the fact that it is not only one of the oldest treaties linking two friendly countries, but also one that has endured to this day without either of the two parties ever having requested that it be abrogated or even that one of its articles be modified. This unique distinction is a clear indication that the relations between our two countries have been characterized by continuity and stability based on friendship and cooperation.

This treaty was followed by other Moroccan-American treaties, all of which were inspired by the spirit of the original treaty and contributed to establish this exemplary relationship that binds our two countries in mutual understanding and cooperation.

Mr. President, here on this very spot where you and I now stand, humanity witnessed an historic moment when all eyes turned to the White House entrance to witness the birth of a defining event, fulfilling a hope long entertained by the forces of good, and arousing the will to expand peace throughout the world. This happened on Monday morning, September 13, 1993, at 11:00 a.m. This happened as President Yassir Arafat and the Prime Minister of Israel, Mr. Yitzhak Rabin, stood on either side of you. With your blessing, the historic handshake took place in an era of war that had lasted for more than 40 years.

During those years, lives were wasted, assets squandered, hate and rancor widespread, and human efforts for development and construction in the Middle East annihilated. Forfeiting security, the region became a permanent den of instability and a threat to world peace.

Due to your relentless efforts, you had the good fortune to become the principal witness of this great event, and, together with Russia, to become its principal sponsor -- so much so that this place on which we now stands connotes peace, rendering Washington a landmark for the peace that we all desire for this region. This event came as a surprise to many who believed that its taking place was either impossible to achieve or the result of pure fantasy.

As for us, we were not surprised. We were, in fact, expecting such an event to occur -- and this, for two reasons. First, we believe in the dynamics of history because we experienced its decisive effectiveness in changing the course of events when waging a bitter struggle to regain our independence. At that time, regaining independence seemed illusory and impossible. But the dynamics of history and our conviction and that of our people in its effectiveness propelled our struggle to impose independence, and to turn it into reality.

Second, Mr. President, because we were following the birth of this event through its consecutive stages, working to guide it in the direction of the dynamics of history, and because we observed with hope and expectation that the Palestinians and Israelis, whom we used to receive separately, expressed to us their desire for achieving peace, even though they did not announce this publicly.

However, this newborn peace appears to be threatened by dangers because it's not a full-fledged peace. Peace hasn't taken place in all the areas of interest. For peace to be achieved, the pace of the negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis needs to be accelerated away from any equivocations liable to cause the peace process to falter.

Mr. President, we look forward to the talks that will take place between us and that will cover important issues in several areas, be it with respect to our bilateral relations or with respect to international relations. We are certain that these negotiations will be both positive and fruitful, and will lead to the convergence of our points of view, because everything unites our basic choices and nothing can lead to a misunderstanding.

In today's world, the reality of political relations should reflect that of economic relations. And that is why we aspire to having our economic ties up to the level of our distinctive historic ties.

We would like to thank you, Mr. President, for the warmth of your welcome and the attention that you accord our visit. We would like to renew to you the expression of our strong will to develop our relations of friendship and cooperation with your great country, the United States of America.

Thank you again, Mr. President, and God help you. (Applause.)

END11:07 A.M. EST