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  • President Obama: Well, let me, on behalf of the American people

  • and my administration, welcome President Mubarak for his first

  • visit since I've taken office. I want to publicly thank him for

  • the extraordinary hospitality that he showed us when I

  • traveled to Egypt and delivered my speech at Cairo University.

  • It was an extraordinary visit, not only because of the great

  • welcome that I received from the President and the college

  • students who were in attendance, but also having an opportunity

  • to visit the pyramids was a once-in-a-lifetime experience

  • for me. The United States and Egypt have worked together

  • closely for many years, and for many of those years President

  • Mubarak has been a leader and a counselor and a friend to the

  • United States. We obviously have a lot of great challenges that

  • have to be dealt with and we are continuing to work together to

  • find those areas where we can find common ground and to work

  • in concert to bring peace and security to the region.

  • The Arab-Israeli situation is something that has been of

  • ongoing interest and we had an extensive conversation about how

  • we could help to jumpstart an effective process on all sides

  • to move away from a status quo that is not working for the

  • Israeli people, the Palestinian people, or, I think, the region

  • as a whole. We discussed our common concerns about the

  • potential proliferation of nuclear weapons in the region,

  • including the development of nuclear weapons by Iran,

  • and how we could work together on those fronts.

  • We discussed Iraq -- and I want to thank the government of Egypt

  • for being an Arab country that has moved forward to try to

  • strengthen Iraq as it emerges from a wartime footing and a

  • transition to a more stable democracy.

  • And we continued to talk about how we can work together on

  • economic development issues, education issues, health issues,

  • that can promote the interests of both the American people as

  • well as the Egyptian people.

  • Just to take one example, we have agreed to work together

  • with the Organization of Islamic States to eradicate polio,

  • something that we've been able to successfully deal with here

  • in the United States but still has impact on populations

  • throughout the Muslim communities around the world.

  • And so these are the kinds of partnerships that we want to

  • continue to build. There are some areas where we still have

  • disagreements, and where we do have disagreements we have a

  • frank and honest exchange.

  • So I just want to say once again that I am grateful to President

  • Mubarak for his visit, for his willingness to work with us on

  • these critical issues, and to help advance the interest of

  • peace and prosperity around the world.

  • Thank you very much. Welcome.

  • (Speaking Arabic)

  • President Mubarak: (as translated) First of all,

  • this is the third time that I meet with President Obama.

  • The first time was in Cairo, when he came to give his

  • address. It was a very strong address and it removed all

  • doubts about the United States and the Muslim world.

  • (Speaking Arabic)

  • The importance of the Cairo visit was very appreciated by

  • the Muslim and Islamic world because the Islamic world had

  • thought that the U. S. was against Islam, but his great,

  • fantastic address there has removed all those doubts.

  • (Speaking Arabic)

  • That was the first time.

  • Now, the second time where we met was in Italy during the G15

  • summit. We didn't have much time to go in depth into discussions,

  • but we did have some quick discussion.

  • (Speaking Arabic)

  • The third time I meet with President Obama is here today at

  • the White House. We have discussed an array of issues

  • from our bilateral relations to the issues of the Middle East,

  • the region, to the Palestinian issue, to the issue of Iran,

  • Somalia, and the Africa Horn. Also, several other issues --

  • even we discussed the issue of reform inside Egypt.

  • And I told to President Obama very frankly and very friendly

  • that I have entered into the elections based on a platform

  • that included reforms, and therefore we have started to

  • implement some of it and we still have two more

  • years to implement it.

  • (Speaking Arabic)

  • Our relations between us and the United States

  • are very good relations and strategic relations.

  • And despite some of the hoops that we had with previous

  • administrations, this did not change the nature of our

  • bilateral relations.

  • (Speaking Arabic)

  • We have perhaps focused greatly on the

  • Palestinian issue because it's the pivotal issue.

  • (Speaking Arabic)

  • And the Palestinian issue has impact on the world, on the

  • region, whether for the West or also for the United States.

  • (Speaking Arabic)

  • We have also discussed the issue of Iran and the issue

  • of nuclear Iran, and we talked about these issues very frankly.

  • (Speaking Arabic)

  • And in conclusion of my remarks, I would like to thank President

  • Obama for his welcome to me here at the White House and I also

  • salute him as I did -- and this is since five years -- I also

  • salute President Obama for all his efforts with regard to the

  • Palestinian issue. Since his first day at the White House he

  • started working on it.

  • (Speaking Arabic)

  • And I assured him that we will

  • cooperate with him and we will be very strong in these efforts,

  • whether with regard to the Palestinian issue or the

  • other regional issues. And I thank him again.

  • President Obama: Okay, we've got one question each.

  • The Press: Both Presidents, if I may.

  • Reports from Jerusalem today that the Israeli government has

  • not given permission for any new settlements to be built,

  • although ones that were in process are still in process --

  • and I'm wondering if you have talked about that issue and if

  • that's the sort of thing that goes at least partway to meeting

  • what you're asking the Israelis to do.

  • And also what's in the West Bank and in Jerusalem.

  • President Obama: There has been movement in the right direction

  • and I came in from the start saying that all parties

  • concerned had to take some concrete steps to restart

  • serious negotiations to resolve what has been a longstanding

  • conflict that is not good for the Israeli people and is not

  • good for its neighbors. And I think that the Israeli

  • government has taken discussions with us very seriously.

  • George Mitchell has been back and forth repeatedly;

  • he will be heading back out there next week.

  • And my hope is that we are going to see not just movement from

  • the Israelis, but also from the Palestinians around issues of

  • incitement and security, from Arab states that show their

  • willingness to engage Israel.

  • If all sides are willing to move off of the rut that we're in

  • currently, then I think there is a extraordinary opportunity to

  • make real progress. But we're not there yet.

  • I'm encouraged by some of the things I'm seeing on the ground.

  • We've been seeing reports in the West Bank in particular that

  • checkpoints have been removed in some situations.

  • The security forces of the Palestinian Authority have

  • greatly improved and have been able to deal with the security

  • situation on the West Bank in a way that has inspired not just

  • confidence among the Israeli people, but also among the

  • Palestinian people. There's been some increased economic activity

  • on the West Bank. All of this is creating a climate in which it's

  • possible for us to see some positive steps and hopefully

  • negotiate towards a final resolution of these longstanding

  • issues. But everybody is going to have to take steps;

  • everybody is going to have to take some risks. It's going to

  • require a lot of hard work, and the United States is committed

  • to being a partner in this process. And Egypt will be as

  • important as any other party in helping to move the process

  • forward because Egypt is uniquely positioned in

  • some ways having very strong relationships with Israel,

  • with the Palestinians, and with other Arab states, and President

  • Mubarak has as much experience in the region as anybody.

  • (Speaking Arabic)

  • President Mubarak: (as translated) I would like to add on what President Obama

  • has just said, and I say that we are trying and working on this

  • goal to bring the two parties to sit together and to get

  • something from the Israeli party and to get something from the

  • Palestinian party. If we perhaps can get them to sit together,

  • we will help. And also, I have contacts with the Israeli party.

  • I have received calls and contacts with the Prime Minister

  • of Israel, with the head of the state,

  • and also with the Minister of Defense.

  • We are speaking in a good manner and we are moving into the right

  • direction. But the two parties need to sit together,

  • and this then will give hope that there is a possibility of

  • finding a solution to the Palestinian issue,

  • because it has been ongoing since 60 years.

  • And with this issue ongoing, we lose a lot,

  • and also this will increase violence.

  • So we support the efforts of the United States to move towards

  • finding a solution.

  • (Speaking Arabic)

  • If this is the issue of Jerusalem that you

  • are asking about, I tell you this is a complicated issue.

  • Then -- back then, a time ago, when we -- at former President

  • Clinton's era, we almost neared finding an equation to find a

  • solution for this issue. But afterwards, eight years

  • afterwards, there was nothing and this issue moved very

  • slowly. However, if we can find some solution to this,

  • this would be helpful.

  • The Press: President Mubarak, you just mentioned about the 60

  • years conflict. You have been in that conflict as a warrior and

  • as a peacemaker together for a long time. What's different

  • this time? It has been ups and downs, disappointments and

  • achievements. What's different this time? And are we going into

  • another peace process, or are we going again heading for a final

  • status kind of negotiations that finish that business?

  • And for President Obama, if you care to comment -- President

  • Mubarak said we cannot afford failure this time.

  • What stands between us now and success?

  • (Speaking Arabic)

  • President Mubarak: (as translated) As I said before, this is a complicated

  • issue. I have worked a long time ago when I was in the army,

  • and afterwards during my access of presidency.

  • This issue has been ongoing 60 years. And we cannot afford

  • wasting more time, because violence will increase, and

  • violence has increased. The level of violence is now much

  • more than it was 10 years ago. Therefore, we need to find -- to

  • move to the final status solution and level.

  • And I have contacted the Israelis,

  • and they said perhaps you can talk about a temporary solution

  • or perhaps the final status. But I told them, no, forget about

  • the temporary solution and forget about temporary borders.

  • That's why I came today to talk to President Obama and to see

  • that if we move forward on this issue, it will give more hope

  • and more confidence to the people about this issue.

  • (Speaking Arabic)

  • The negotiations of the final status will not be easy and it

  • will be fraught of complications.

  • (Speaking Arabic)

  • This issue contains the issue of Jerusalem,

  • the issue of refugees, the issue of the borders.

  • But I believe that, in cooperation with the United

  • States and through our relations with Israel,

  • I believe that we can reach a solution, because the Arab

  • people want peace and want a better life, and the Israeli

  • people also want peace and stability in their lives.

  • President Obama: Well, I think President Mubarak said it well:

  • It's going to be difficult.

  • I do believe that what may have changed -- and this is what we

  • have to test -- is a growing realization on the part of the

  • Palestinians that Israel is not going anywhere and is a fact,

  • a reality that has to be dealt with;

  • and a recognition on the part of the Israelis that their

  • long-term security interests require finding an accommodation

  • with the Palestinians and ultimately with their Arab

  • neighbors. So the interests on both sides are towards peace.

  • Now, one of the things that you discover in studying history and

  • being a part of politics is just because something makes sense

  • doesn't mean it happens.

  • And we are going to have to work very hard.

  • And ultimately there is going to have to be some courageous

  • leadership not only from the Palestinians and the Israelis

  • but also from the other Arab states to support this effort.

  • And the United States is going to devote time and energy and

  • resources to try to make this happen.

  • And what I can say as different from the United States'

  • perspective is that even in the midst of the worst financial

  • crisis since the Great Depression,

  • we started dealing with this issue on day one.

  • We didn't wait until year six or year seven,

  • after I had been reelected before we started taking this

  • on. We started dealing with this issue immediately,

  • precisely because it's a difficult issue that requires a

  • lot of groundwork to be laid and sometimes proceeds in fits and

  • starts. But with the partnership of countries like Egypt,

  • we think we can make progress. Okay, thank you, everybody.

  • Go ahead, please.

  • (Speaking Arabic)

  • President Mubarak: (as translated)I believe that President Obama is talking

  • about support from the Arab states to this issue.

  • I would say here that if negotiations start,

  • this will lead to the Arab state to support the peace process and

  • to move it forward, because I can tell you that the Arab