THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT CLINTON AND PRESIDENT CARDOSO OF BRAZIL IN ARRIVAL CEREMONY The South Lawn
10:42 A.M. EDT
PRESIDENT CLINTON: President Cardoso and Mrs. Cardoso, distinguished guests. I am pleased to welcome to Washington a good friend of the United States and one of our hemisphere's most dynamic leaders.
Mr. President, let me begin by expressing my appreciation and the appreciation of the American people for the call and the message you sent to us yesterday in the wake of the terrible incident in Oklahoma City.
Let me say again, those responsible will be brought to justice. They will be tried, convicted and punished. We will never let the forces of inhumanity prevail in the United States.
At this moment, the rescue efforts in Oklahoma City continue. And we hold out hope that more survivors will be found. To all those carrying on this dangerous work, to the families and loved ones of those still missing, our prayers are with you. And to all those here watching, and those who are watching us through the airwaves, I have ordered all our flags today throughout the United States to be flown at half-mast. And I ask you now to join with me in a moment of silence for the victims.
May God's grace be with them.
Mr. President, as the largest democracies in the Americas, our countries have a special responsibility to work together, to support the extraordinary trend toward democracies and open markets throughout our region. Today we will pursue that joint action. We both know it is needed to manage our common problems and to seize our shared opportunities.
Mr. President, your own life embodies the resilience of the democratic spirit of the Americas. Thirty years ago, you were forced into exile by the enemies of democracy. But instead of giving in to bitterness, you carried on the struggle for freedom with reason and reconciliation as your only weapons. And you prevailed.
Now you lead a nation that has remained at peace with its neighbors for more than a century. That strong tradition of peaceful relations and your personal commitment to democracy give Brazil a vital role to play in strengthening cooperation among the nations and deepening the roots of civil society throughout our hemispheres. The United States welcomes the opportunity to work with you in this noble cause.
We must also work to further the goal we set at the Summit of the Americas -- to create a free trade area of the Americas by the year 2005. The building blocks of free trade, the North American Free Trade Agreement and MERCOSUR, are in place. Now let us move forward to transform our vision of a commercially-integrated hemisphere into concrete reality.
The emerging partnership between our two countries extends beyond supporting democracy in emerging markets. We are also joining forces to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to protect the environment, to fight against drug smuggling, and to keep peace in countries that are threatened by ethnic conflict and civil war. The United States is counting on Brazil's continued leadership in meeting these major challenges of our time.
Mr. President, you represent a vibrant people whose pride in the past is matched only by their hope for the future. Your own efforts to bring economic stability and social justice to Brazil are responsible for much of that promise of tomorrow. On this solid foundation and under your leadership, Brazil is poised to take its rightful place as a shining example for all the Americas and all the world.
Mr. President, we are honored to have you here. Welcome to the White House. Welcome to the United States. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT CARDOSO: Mr. President, Mrs. Clinton, ladies and gentlemen. Mr. President, I know that this is a day for celebration of the friendship between our two countries. At this moment, nevertheless, allow me to express my deep sorrow for the barbaric act that took so many lives in Oklahoma City yesterday.
On behalf of the Brazilian people, I would like to bring to you a message of our solidarity with the American people and especially with the families of the victims of such a senseless act of violence. Mr. President, in my view, this terrorist act affects not only America, it affects all of us who believe in peace, in democracy and in freedom for all.
Mr. President, I have come to the United States of America with the desire to bring our countries even closer together. I am convinced that the time has come for us to elevate bilateral relations to a new level, a level that will allow our peoples to make the most of the possibilities for our cooperation that exist between Brazil and the United States. A long friendship unites our two countries. It is a friendship based on a history of shared values and joint undertakings.
The defense of freedom has always been the most striking feature of the United States of America. This land welcomed all who came in search of the American Dream, a dream described by Jefferson on the Fourth of July, 1776, that all men are created equal and that they share the same inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
I, myself, Mr. President, sought new horizons here at a difficult time in my country's history. Exiled by a regime that considered a professor of sociology a threat, I bore witness to the value attributed to freedom here in the United States.
After so many years and so much history, destiny has accorded me the honor of returning to this country. I am no longer coming in search of freedom. We have restored freedom at home.
I have come as the President of Brazil whose people have once again found their truest vocation, democracy; a Brazil that is demonstrating its ability to build a free and just society; where people from all parts of the world come in peace to fulfill the desire for a better life. The paths we have followed to consolidate democracy has not always been easy. We have needed determination and equanimity.
Today I am proud to say that my election was the cornerstone of a system in which all sectors of society are heard and where the will of the majority is respected. Brazilian society has changed. Democratic practices now govern social relations. The election of someone putting forward a new program of transformation followed naturally. I am the President of a country that has been revitalized, a country that is beginning a new cycle of prosperity. We have defeated inflation, opened our economy, promoted our integration into the global economy, and began to grow again.
The Brazilian people know that freedom is not political in nature -- is not only political in nature. It is also economic. They know that economic development is not achieved without social justice. They understand that responsible, prudent, stewardship is essential to the process of economic expansion.
When I met you for the first time last December, Mr. President, I knew that hemispheric integration had found a defender equal to the ideals that have always served as its inspiration. The gathering at the Miami summit has assured you a decisive place in the history of our hemisphere. Brazil is committed to carrying on the work of the summit.
We are a hemisphere at peace, where the highest Western values endure and an extraordinary potential for economic partnership exists. There is no other part of the world where shared prospects are so promising.
President Clinton, you have the boldness to realize that in an interdependent world, the prosperity of all countries in the region is in your country's interest. More than your vision, your concrete actions have also pointed in this direction. For our part, successful MERCOSUR experience has shown us that integration deepens mutual ties in the sense of cooperation and solidarity.
We are the largest nations on the continent. We share the problems and virtues of our size. We are shaped by contributions of the broadest possible range of people. Democratic values, the advancement of human rights, the world's environmental issues and sustainable development should occupy a central place in governmental actions in the shared understanding that among the factors of international stability are a firm commitment to disarmament and nonproliferation, as well as the aspiration for closing the gap between the rich and the poor. All of these are elements of our shared legacy.
We each have our own clear visions of the world. We want international peace and security on a firm basis. Fifty years ago, we fought as allies in the Second World War in defense of freedom. The vocation of Brazil and the United States is to stand together.
At the beginning of my remarks, Mr. President, I said the definitive ties that unite our two countries are of a long standing. What unite us more than the past, however, is the future. It is time for a new partnership, to work together, to bring our two countries even closer. This is the challenge that we face. To invite you to accept this challenge, together with me, is the message I bear from the Brazilian people.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END10:56 A.M. EST