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National Archives

Public Papers - 1989

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on President Bush's Meeting With President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire


The President met with President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire for 2 hours and 15 minutes today, including a private one-on-one meeting in the Oval Office, an expanded plenary meeting in the Cabinet Room, and a luncheon in the Residence.

We attach a great deal of importance to the visit to the United States of President Mobutu. Zaire is one of our oldest and closest friends in Africa. The President wanted to emphasize our excellent relations by inviting President Mobutu to be the first African head of state to come to the United States on an official working visit. President Mobutu recently organized and chaired the successful Gbadolite summit, which led to a cease-fire and the start of negotiations between UNITA [National Union for the Total Independence of Angola] and the MPLA [Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola] in Angola. This considerable diplomatic feat -- along with his noteworthy contributions to regional stability in Chad, Burundi, and elsewhere over the years -- underscore his importance as an African leader and statesman.

President Mobutu briefed the President about the summit and the status of proceedings to arrange the talks which we hope will lead to national reconciliation in Angola. In addition to events in Angola, the two Presidents reviewed security issues elsewhere in Africa, U.S. assistance to Zaire, Zaire's recent decision to begin an IMF [International Monetary Fund] economic reform program, and human rights issues.

During his Washington stay, President Mobutu also had meetings with Treasury Secretary Brady, Defense Secretary Cheney, and Secretary of State Baker. Tomorrow, Vice President and Mrs. Quayle will be President and Mrs. Mobutu's hosts for a breakfast meeting. During this visit, President Mobutu has also met with Members of Congress, businessmen, and the media.

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