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                  Office of the Press Secretary
                         (Miami, Florida)
For Immediate Release                      December 10, 1994     
                       VICE PRESIDENT GORE,
                           East Terrace

4:55 P.M. EST

VICE PRESIDENT GORE: Ladies and gentlemen, President Figueres, President Chamorro, President De Leon, Prime Minister Esquivel, President Reina, President Calderon Sol, President Perez Balladares, President Clinton, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

It is a special pleasure for me to witness the signing of the CONCAUSA today. This ceremony is the result of many months of hard work by many people, both in Central America and the United States. Fundamentally, though, it is the vision and determination of the leaders of Central America that has brought us here today.

Under the leadership of President De Leon, this group came to the White House early in President Clinton's term and issued a proposal about which there was much negotiation, much conversation, and into which was put much hard work. It resulted in a Central American summit meeting earlier this year in Managua, hosted by President Chamorro, and further negotiations.

The agreement which is about to be signed is an historic development. I congratulate you. And as someone who has the honor of calling each of these individuals a friend, it gives me satisfaction to see this take place, because with this signing, the peoples of Central America and the United States begin an entirely new phase in our relationship -- one based on friendship, cooperative action, and the shared objectives of the Central American Alliance for Sustainable Development.

As President Clinton said yesterday, sustainable development must be more than simply buzzwords. Together, through the Central American alliance and CONCAUSA, we can make it a reality, starting today.

It gives me great pleasure to present the person who has made this possible for our country, the President of the United States, Bill Clinton.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Thank you very much, Mr. Vice President. To my colleagues, the leaders of the Central American nations, I am very pleased to join you today in signing the Conjunto Centroamericano-USA -- or in shorthand, CONCAUSA. The United States is proud to become a partner in your alliance to promote sustainable economic growth. This declaration is the product of farsighted leadership by the nations of Central America.

A little over a year ago, when I hosted many of you at the White House, you proposed to establish an Alliance for Sustainable Development. Just nine months later you made good on your pledge. This alliance is a remarkable sign of the powerful transformation you have achieved in Central America. You have demonstrated strength and energy in bringing your people together to resolve conflicts peacefully, and turning your attention to creating new economic opportunity in your nations.

As the Vice President said, this alliance is already demonstrating that democracy, economic growth and concern for the environment are complementary goals. Now, through CONCAUSA, all our nations will cooperate on a wide range of concrete programs. These include supporting protected areas from northern Guatemala to eastern Panama, phasing out the use of lead in gasoline, and strengthening environmental laws and enforcement.

We will also work to harmonize environmental rules to facilitate trade and investment. And I am committed to seeking prompt congressional passage of the interim trade program.

Your excellencies, the United States is proud to join your partnership to promote sustainable development. This is a new day of cooperation between the United States and Central America, and we urge other nations to follow our lead. So many of the challenges we face know no borders, and we must unite to meet them.

Now I'd like to invite to the microphone the Secretary of the Central American nations, President Figueres.

PRESIDENT FIGUERES: Colleagues, Presidents, Madame President, Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Vice President, we Central Americans stand before you today united. We are now in a situation of peace and consolidation of our democracies.

We are in a new era. This is a time of development, but it is a time of special development, sustainable development. It is a time in which we emphasize the social aspects of our development for the welfare of all our peoples. It is a time for macroeconomic balance -- a balance that will lead to investment from foreign countries and also more savings domestically. We are all in favor of nature and taking care of our natural resources to give these resources added value for the use of future generations.

Thanks to President Clinton, the leaders of Central America meet here again today. We meet with President Clinton to sign CONCAUSA, to share a new time of ideals and areas that we will be developing in the future.

Central America is a world power -- a world power in the field of biodiversity. We are celebrating today three very important events. We are signing a document with friends, with friends such as the United States. Also, Canada announced today $1.5 million for councils of sustainable development. Also, we are celebrating the money that has been pledged by the Global Environmental Facility and by the Inter-American Development Bank -- the first, for $15 million; the second, for $25 million, making a total of $40 million for projects in sustainable development.

The results that we see before us today have been the result of the efforts of the entire Central American family and the Central American family's friends. I want to thank President De Leon Carpio very specially for this effort that he proposed and which has borne its fruits today, and I also want to wish him all success in the process of peace which is now going on in his country. (Applause.)

PRESIDENT DE LEON CARPIO: Colleagues, Presidents, Madame President, Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Vice President, ladies and gentlemen, what was only an idea a year ago is today becoming a reality; a reality which is actually a beginning.

The Alliance for Sustainable Development is an initiative of Central America. It is part of our new agenda for the region; an agenda which up to now has been dominated by our efforts in the field of democracy, peace and reconciliation. In order to transform our region to a model of sustainable development, it is necessary to have full social participation. But at the same time, it is necessary to have the understanding of the international community.

In the design of this initiative, we wanted to improve the life of all our peoples -- quality of life, socially politically, economically. In order to implement this alliance, we require the coordination of all efforts in order to achieve growth with justice. And, as a consequence, we are also implementing our efforts in order to achieve diversity culturally and socially. And this can only be done with the full cooperation of society, working together with nature for future generations. The bases of the alliance are democracy, sociocultural development, and proper management of natural resources in peace.

We are very pleased to receive the support of the United States government, our first partner in this effort. We hope that the support we have received now in the signing of CONCAUSA strengthens the relationship between the government of the United States and the governments of Central America, and thus, furthers the cooperation that we are able to achieve in our relationship and that we are also able to get the support of other nations in the world.

I'm sure that if we take on the commitments embodied in the alliance for sustainable development, our nations will be able to live in peace and prosperity for many catunes -- which is a Mayan term equal to 52 years. And the only thing I can say now on this historic occasion and on this day is to invite the President and the Vice President of the United States to sign CONCAUSA, along with the heads of state of Central America.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

(The agreement is signed.)

END5:15 P.M. EST