THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release July 20, 1994
STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY
Meeting with Panamanian President-Elect Balladares
President Clinton met with Panamanian President-elect Ernesto Perez Balladares today in the Oval Office. Both leaders expressed their commitment to a close and cooperative relationship between the United States and Panama and said this spirit would guide their efforts to ensure a smooth transfer of the Panama Canal and associated properties to full Panamanian control between now and December 31, 1999. President Clinton reaffirmed that the United States will honor its treaty commitments to Panama and expressed his commitment to work closely with President-elect Perez Balladares in implementing these historic treaties.
The two leaders discussed several regional issues, including the crisis in Haiti. President-elect Perez Balladares reiterated his offer to provide temporary safehaven to Haitian migrants after his inauguration on September 1 and discussed with President Clinton specific arrangements that will be made to carry out this offer. The President expressed his appreciation to President-elect Perez Balladares and welcomed Panama's active participation in the international effort that will be made to restore democracy to Haiti.
President Clinton welcomed President-elect Perez Balladares' commitment to stem narcotics-related money laundering in Panama and offered US technical assistance to help Panama achieve that goal.
President-elect Perez Balladares explained his program to promote the structural readjustment of the Panamanian economy and his desire to increase trade with the other dynamic economies of the hemisphere.
Looking ahead to December's Summit of the Americas in Miami, the President said he was delighted that President-elect Perez Balladares would be representing Panama at this historic gathering of the hemisphere's democratically elected leaders. President-elect Perez Balladares expressed his interest in participating actively in Summit preparations, particularly on initiatives related to counter-narcotics and trade expansion. Both presidents agreed that the Summit offers a superb opportunity for the hemisphere's democracies to pursue a shared agenda of strengthening democratic government, expanding mutual prosperity and promoting sustainable development.
# # #