Meeting With Foreign Minister Abd al Halim Khaddam of Syria White House Statement

publisher: The American Presidency Project

Publishing date: 1977-09-28

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Meeting With Foreign Minister Abd al Halim Khaddam of Syria White House Statement Issued Following the Meeting Between the President and the Foreign Minister.

September 28, 1977

The President and Syrian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Abd al Halira Khaddam met in the Cabinet Room for 1 hour and 5 minutes. The meeting was also attended by Vice President Mondale; Secretary of State Cyrus Vance; Hamilton Jordan, Assistant to the President; David Aaron, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs; Alfred L. Atherton, Jr., Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs; Richard Murphy, U.S. Ambassador to Syria; and William Quandt, National Security Council staff member, on the American side; and His Excellency Dr. Sabah Kabbani, Ambassador of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United States; and Mr. Abd al-Salam Aqil, private secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister, on the Syrian side.

The President began by expressing his pleasure at this opportunity to meet again with Minister Khaddam, recalling their friendly talks at the White House last April and at the time of President Carter’s meeting with President Asad in Geneva in May. The President underlined the importance he attributes to Syrian participation in the peace efforts underway in the Middle East and reaffirmed his determination to continue those efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict. In this connection, the President repeated his own conviction that a just and lasting peace in this vital area of the world requires compromise and courageous leadership from all the parties to the negotiations.

The President and the Minister agreed on the importance of working to reconvene the Geneva conference by the end of this year. They discussed the substantive issues of a settlement and, while noting that differences exist between our respective views on some points, they agreed that these efforts at finding concrete solutions to the core issues of the conflict should continue. Secretary Vance will pursue the discussion with the Minister, listening to his ideas and explaining in detail American suggestions for reconciling differences between the parties on the key elements of a settlement. The President and the Minister also discussed the problem of Palestinian representation at Geneva, agreeing that this question must be resolved if the Geneva conference is to be reconvened.

The President concluded by expressing his gratification with the steady improvement in relations between Syria and the United States. He emphasized that these good relations aid the cause of reaching a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. The President asked the Minister to assure President Asad that he intends to carry on American efforts to that end.

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