[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1995, Book I)]
[March 15, 1995]
[Pages 354-357]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]



The President's News Conference With King Hassan II of Morocco
March 15, 1995

    The President. Good afternoon. His Majesty King Hassan and I have 
just concluded a very productive and wide-ranging meeting. We apologize 
for talking a little longer than the scheduled time, but we had much to 
discuss. Let me begin by thanking him for his visit, and continuing the 
tradition that he first began with President Kennedy of providing wise 
counsel to American Presidents.
    Of course, we talked about how we can best support and accelerate 
the momentum for peace in the Middle East. His Majesty's visit comes at 
a time of renewed hope. As a result of Secretary Christopher's intensive 
discussions in the region, we now have an agreement to resume direct 
talks between Israel and Syria. This is a very encouraging development. 
Combined with the new energy we see in the Israel-Palestinian 
discussions and continued progress in implementing the Jordan-Israel 
peace treaty, I believe there is now a real opportunity to secure a 
durable resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
    The promise of peace owes much to King Hassan's vision and courage. 
He helped to arrange President Sadat's historic trip to Jerusalem. He 
undertook a direct dialog with Israel at a time when doing so was 
difficult. His quiet diplomacy facilitated talks between other Arab 
leaders and Israel. And Morocco continues to lead the effort to build a 
new Middle East.
    His Majesty and I agreed that one key to peace is bringing tangible 
economic benefits to the people of the Middle East, a change in the 
quality of their daily lives so that they can develop a real stake in 
peaceful cooperation. That's why the process begun under King Hassan's 
leadership at the Casablanca summit last October is so important in 
order to expand economic integration and encourage private sector growth 
and investment.
    His Majesty and I reviewed the next step in this process, including 
the Amman business summit this fall. We also discussed taking down 
barriers to trade and investment, such as the Arab League boycott of 
Israel that had denied the Middle East its full place as a dynamic 
participant in the global economy.
    We discussed our shared interest in fighting the spread of weapons 
of mass destruction, which pose a threat to the entire Middle East and, 
indeed, to the world. I emphasized the importance the United States 
attaches to securing the indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-
Proliferation Treaty as a vital part of this effort.
    We are also working to build closer economic ties. Today we will 
sign a trade and investment framework agreement to expand bilateral 
commerce and investment and to provide a framework for further trade 
liberalization. And Morocco announced plans to establish a counterpart 
in the United States to the U.S.-Morocco Joint Committee on Trade and 
Investment.
    Later this afternoon, His Majesty will preside over a protocol 
signing with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. OPIC will 
guarantee $200 million in U.S. Government support for a $1.5 billion 
powerplant being built by an American company near Casablanca. Morocco's 
decision to welcome foreign participation in privatizing its state-owned 
power sector made this project possible. Together with similar ventures 
in the future, it promises to generate jobs

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and exports for the United States and to provide Morocco with the 
electricity it needs to power its own industrial growth.
    Finally, I'd like to express my own gratitude to the King for his 
enlightened leadership of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. I 
share his conviction that Islam can be a powerful force for tolerance 
and moderation in the world and that its traditional values--devotion to 
family and to society, to faith and good works--are in harmony with the 
best of Western ideals.
    As I said in my speeches to the Parliaments of Jordan and Israel, 
the United States has great respect for Islam and wishes to work with 
its followers throughout the world to secure peace and a better future 
for all our children.
    Throughout the course of our long friendship, which goes back to the 
very beginning of this country, Morocco and the United States have 
worked together to shape the world we live in for the better. King 
Hassan and I are committed to continuing that great partnership for 
progress well into the future. And I thank him for the contributions he 
has made to that today.
    Your Majesty.
    King Hassan. To begin with, I'd like to reiterate my thanks to Mr. 
President for the warm welcome with which we have been surrounded ever 
since we have tread the soil of this country.
    We have spoken about many issues, Mr. President and myself. Now, we 
did not have the opportunity of knowing each other personally before, 
but we have come to know each other through the messages that we have 
exchanged in the past and also by means of the various positions that 
were taken by Mr. President concerning the peace in the Middle East. I 
think that Mr. Clinton should be proud of his balance sheet after 2 
years in the White House.
    We have also talked about bilateral issues, and thanks to God, we 
have come to realize how much harmony exists between the positions of 
our two countries. However, in the modern world in which we live today, 
there can be no schizophrenia in any healthy relationship. There is 
absolutely no justification for us to have such excellent political 
relations on the one hand and then on the other hand to have economic 
relations that are not up to the same level.
    Up to now, we have been a one-legged man in our mutual action. And I 
hope that in the future we will be able to walk on two feet, that is, 
hand-in-hand towards the prosperity and the success we are hoping for 
both countries.
    Obviously, the United States of America has its own vision of 
matters because it deals with international issues. And therefore, the 
analysis of matters have to be to that proportion.
    Morocco, though modest the way it is, has its own vision of things. 
Thanks to God, during our talks, we had absolutely no differences 
concerning our principles, ideals, and the aims that are to be attained. 
But considering that Mr. President and myself are perfectionists, we 
have to devise the most appropriate strategy in order for us to reach 
the aims that both countries have in mind.
    Mr. President, once again I want to thank you for your warm welcome, 
but I would like also to thank you for the open heart with which I have 
been received here in the White House.

Middle East Peace Process

    Q. Mr. President, you spoke this morning of the need to accelerate 
the peace process. What can the United States do to break the impasse 
when Syria and Israel resume negotiations next week?
    The President. Well, of course, we're doing what we can with the 
Secretary's trip to the Middle East and with the work that Mr. Ross and 
others are doing. What we have sought to do, always, is to facilitate 
the conditions within which both parties will feel secure in making 
peace. That has always been our role. We cannot make a peace for the 
parties, and we're doing what we can, once again, to make our best case 
to both sides about what things will make them secure in making the 
decision.
    As you know, when they discuss matters of this kind, it's best to 
let them deal with the details and make the decisions. So the less I say 
about the specifics, the greater the opportunity they have to make the 
peace.
    Is there a question from Morocco?

North Africa

    Q. Mr. President, you have spoken during the last visit you had made 
that you were concerned with stability--in Paris--that you were 
concerned with stability in North Africa. You have also spoken about the 
fact that Morocco is a point of stability and security in the region. 
Now, in your discussions with His Majesty, did you come to devise some 
kind of strategy in

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order to strengthen and sustain this idea of the security in the North 
African region?
    The President. His Majesty and I spoke at great length about North 
Africa, and I asked him for his evaluation and for his advice with 
regard to a number of countries. And I think it's fair to say that he 
believes the United States is pursuing the right policy.
    One of the things I think we have to do is to try to strengthen 
economically the forces of progress and tolerance, which is why I'm very 
pleased about the agreements that we have announced with Morocco today. 
We will continue to push to support elements of progress and tolerance 
in other nations as well.
    Your Majesty, would you like to say anything about that question?

Middle East Development Bank

    Q. The question is addressed to both you and His Majesty. What about 
the latest in the establishment of the Middle East development bank? The 
regional powers are anxious for it in the Middle East, but some European 
leaders are opposed to it. What is happening with it, and if so, what's 
the timetable on it?
    The President. I don't know that I can give you a timetable. I can 
tell you that we are committed to it, as you know, and we are working 
with our allies in Europe. We're doing our best to set it up, and we'll 
do it as quickly as possible. I still think it's a good idea.

King Hassan and U.S. Presidents

    Q. Your Majesty, you had the opportunity to meet seven Presidents of 
the United States. How did you find the President Bill Clinton different 
of the other? Thank you.
    King Hassan. First, let me say no two men are alike. As a wise man 
once said, style is what defines the man. All the different Presidents 
that I've had the honor to meet here contribute together to the richness 
and the variety in the United States. Each time it has been a new style, 
a new inspiration, a new team.
    The President. If His Majesty had not been a direct descendant of 
the Prophet, he might have become Morocco's greatest diplomat. 
[Laughter]

Egypt

    Q. Thank you, Mr. President. Your Majesty, I'd like to ask you, sir, 
what you make of the increasing political difficulties that President 
Mubarak is said to be facing in Egypt and whether this subject arose 
between the two of you today? And also, Mr. President, I'd like to have 
your views on that as well.
    King Hassan. Let me state, first of all, that this world in which we 
live cannot be without political crisis. Each country, on whatever 
continent and whatever the social-economic level and governance it has, 
confronts difficulties in economic, social, or employment areas. But it 
was not on our agenda to carry out a checkup on Egypt, so we did not 
take the time to devote to that particular issue.
    The President. The only thing I would add is I thought His Majesty 
made a very important point when we discussed this briefly, which was 
that you cannot see the Egyptian difficulties solely in political terms 
and that they have to be seen in the context of the challenge that that 
nation and, I might add, many others are having around the world of 
sustainable development, of balancing a rapidly growing population, with 
all the pressures and problems that creates, with the need to provide 
for them food and shelter and education and a stable set of 
opportunities. And I appreciated that insight very much.

Middle East Peace Process

    Q. Your Majesty, we would like to know what you are doing on the 
level of the peace process in the Middle East and what is your position 
about the Arab boycott of Israel? Are there any disagreements between 
Morocco and the United States regarding this issue?
    King Hassan. Yes, indeed, we did discuss the issue of boycott--or 
that is, the boycott of the Arab States towards Israel. As I've said 
previously, I believe that man cannot walk on one leg. We are not 
looking into the peace process without looking into the economic peace 
process also. The boycott of which you have spoken is not a Moroccan-
Israeli issue. It is a boycott on the part of all of the members of the 
Arab League and independently of whatever the view of any of the members 
of the Arab League is. Concerning this issue, I would say that there has 
to be a compromise among the members of the Arab League if the boycott 
is to be lifted.
    As Mr. President has said previously, there are signs of good will 
that have been reported from Secretary Christopher's trip to Syria. And 
there is no doubt that the progress that is scored in the peace 
negotiations between Israel and

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Syria will certainly bring about a collective decision on the part of 
all of the members of the Arab League concerning the lifting of the 
boycott.
    The President. Thank you very much.

Note: The President's 89th news conference began at 1:17 p.m. in the 
Rose Garden at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Dennis B. 
Ross, Special Middle East Coordinator. King Hassan spoke in Arabic and 
French, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.