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Reagan Text: Effort 'Crucial to Our Security'

May 19, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Here is President Reagan's statement about the attack on the frigate Stark.

I know and I share the sense of concern and anger that Americans feel over yesterday's tragedy in the Persian Gulf.

We have protested this attack in the strongest terms and are investigating the circumstances of the incident. When our investigation of the facts is completed, I will report to the American people about this matter and any further steps that are warranted.

For that reason, I have convened a meeting of the National Security Planning Group to review the entire situation in the Persian Gulf.

In the meanwhile, I want to express my deepest sympathy to the families of the brave men killed and injured yesterday aboard the USS Stark. Their loss and suffering will not be in vain. The mission of the men of the USS Stark, safeguarding the interests of the United States and the free world in the gulf, remains crucial to our national security and to the security of our friends throughout the world.

The hazards for our men and women in uniform in the defense of freedom can never be understated. The officers and crew of the USS Stark deserve our highest admiration and appreciation.

And I also would like to express my sincere gratitude to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain for their prompt assistance in responding to the stricken USS Stark. This tragic incident underscores the need to bring the Iran-Iraq War to the promptest possible end.

We and the rest of the international community must redouble our diplomatic efforts to hasten a settlement that will preserve the sovereignty and territorial integrity of both Iran and Iraq. At the same time, we remain deeply committed to supporting the self-defense of our friends in the gulf and to ensuring the free flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz.

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