THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AND CHANCELLOR KOHL OF GERMANY IN STATE ARRIVAL CEREMONY
The South Lawn
10:11 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Chancellor Kohl, members of the German delegation, distinguished guests, on behalf of the American people, it is a distinct honor to welcome back to Washington the leader of one of our closest allies and one of the preeminent statesman of our time, Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
Today marks another stride in our extraordinary journey together, one that has lasted nearly half a century. It began with reconstruction after one devastating war, and a common effort to deter another. Today, Germany and the United States enjoy the fruits of our perseverance and our friendship. Because our nations have stood shoulder to shoulder for so long, last summer Chancellor Kohl and I could walk through the Brandenburg Gate together without checkpoints, without armed sentries.
Now our two nations must continue our journey together with the same resolve we have shown in the past. Today we renew and reaffirm our vital partnership. Together we will work to support continued reform in Russia and the newly-independent states -- a cause in which Chancellor Kohl has shown such extraordinary leadership. We will consider how to move toward NATO's expansion to Europe's new democracies and how to adapt the international institutions to serve us for the next 50 years.
Working together to solve the new problems we face and to create a truly integrated Europe -- this is exactly how two great democracies should mark their successes and look toward the future.
Chancellor Kohl, in the spirit of friendship and gratitude and with great hope for the future, it is a personal honor on behalf of all the people of the United States to welcome you back to the White House. (Applause.)
CHANCELLOR KOHL: Mr. President, Mrs. Clinton, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, dear American friends, I would like to thank you, Mr. President, most warmly for this very warm and friendly welcome here to your country. It is comparatively cold today, I think as we've all noticed. But this does not correspond in any way to the warmth of feeling that we have towards each other.
But dear friend, I would like to note also and draw your attention, ladies and gentlemen, to the fact that the sun has risen and is shining most warmly. And the sun breaks the strength of the cold and warms all of us. And I think that this is a pertinent image for our common future. And this is something for which we will both strive. And this is the goal of our meetings today.
We Germans and Americans have been linked for decades by ties of friendship. And what we have been able to achieve throughout these decades we have only been able to achieve through the help and support of our American friends.
And we as Germans will never forget what it meant that millions of American soldiers and their families stationed in Germany together helped us to maintain peace and freedom in the larger and free part of our country and to guarantee this.
And I would like to mention here, all the presidents of the United States, as being instrumental in helping us all throughout these difficult years; and obviously, last but certainly not least, our friend, Bill Clinton, is one of them.
Mr. President, you spoke so eloquently of German unity. And we understand German unity as a gift that has been handed down to us by history. But this would not have been possible without the help and support of our friends. And here, first and foremost, our friends in America.
And I think that this is the lesson that we have learned from the history of these past 50 years. We have walked down this path towards a good and better future. And I think that the next 50 years ahead of us will lead us into the 21st century. And we will only be able to maintain peace and freedom for us if we continue this close cooperation and friendship and walk down that road together.
Mr. President, you mentioned this unforgettable day when the two of us walked through the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin -- this gate that is now wide open and will remain so. And at this time, you sent out an important message to the German people at that day in July. You said that America will be at your side now and forever.
And I think that today, Mr. President, is a particularly good opportunity here, standing in front of the White House in Washington, the capital of your great country, to reaffirm once again and say to you and to our American friends, the American people, that we, in Germany, will do everything in order to shape this future together with you as close friends and proven partners. And this goes for cooperation both in Germany and in the whole of Europe.
So thank you once again for this very warm welcome, and let me assure you that I am looking forward very much to the talks that we will have, talks that take place among friends who will discuss all pertinent issues of mutual interest to us in these times of dramatic changes in the world. (Applause.)
END10:23 A.M. EST