THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT CLINTON AND PRESIDENT ERNESTO ZEDILLO OF MEXICO IN EXCHANGE OF TOASTS
State Dining Room
8:25 P.M. EDT
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Ladies and gentlemen, I want to begin by again welcoming President and Mrs. Zedillo, and the members of the Mexican delegation. To all of our distinguished guests, Hillary and I are pleased to welcome you back to the White House.
I have known President Zedillo less than a year now, but I feel as if I have known him for a very long time because of the remarkable similarities in our lives, some of which will surprise you; perhaps some of which will amuse you.
Both of us were lucky enough to come from families where everyone worked hard. His mother was a nurse, and so was mine. We both had the chance to do graduate work in England, and both continued our studies at Yale on scholarships. We both married up. (Laughter.)
Like her husband, Mrs. Zedillo is a trained economist, and a quite good one. And I thought I would be a pretty good lawyer until I met Hillary. (Laughter.) Most important of all, and most unbelievably to me, we both went to Acapulco on our honeymoons. (Laughter.) And we both went on our honeymoons not only with our wives, but with our in-laws. (Laughter.)
What that says about our judgment, character and vision, I leave for you to determine. (Laughter.) But, Mr. President, we clearly have a lot in common.
We are also privileged to lead two great nations whose histories and destinies are intertwined. Our strides are longer and our burdens are lighter because we advance together in partnership.
President Zedillo, you took office at a time of great challenge for your country. You held up a vision of Mexico for the future, a Mexico united in democracy and in prosperity. You also knew that Mexico would have to change to succeed, and you called on the Mexican people to join in your campaign for progress.
Only three short weeks later, financial crisis struck, and pessimists predicted collapse. But while those people were wringing their hands, Mr. President, you and I were ringing each other on the telephone. I knew that you were determined to lead Mexico forward, and we both knew that we were in the fight for the future together. The United States rallied the international community to Mexico's cause, and you, Mr. President, made the courageous and difficult choices that opened the door to recovery without closing the door to reform.
Because of your faith in the people of Mexico, because of your love for your homeland, because of your willingness to lead by example, putting long-term good ahead of short-term gain, Mexico's economy is back on track, and its democracy is stronger than ever. And, Mr. President, the United States is proud to be your partner.
In your inaugural address, you offered the following challenge: Let it be said of us that we have dared have high aspirations, and we knew how to make our dreams come true.
With respect to your achievements, let us raise a glass to your dreams, and honor the President and the people of Mexico, the ties that bind us and the friendship between us, and our common vision and destiny in the future. Viva Mexico.
(A toast is offered.) (Applause.)
PRESIDENT ZEDILLO: Mr. William Clinton, President of the United States of America; distinguished First Lady; ladies and gentlemen: First of all, I would like to thank you, Mr. President, and your wife, for the warm hospitality and kindness you've extended to us. This hospitality and cordiality have characterized each one of our business meetings and have enabled us to make the most of our conversations.
Our trip to this great nation and to this lovely city takes us one step further in our ties of friendship and cooperation and points to increasing understanding between our governments, our cultures, and our peoples.
Mr. President, the warm reception and the kindness you've displayed throughout makes us feel like partners and neighbors. But above all, it makes us feel like friends. The United States and Mexico not only share a long border, where we are bent on the prevalescence of legality and dignified treatment, we also share the certainty that the prosperity of our two nations is and always will be mutually beneficial.
We share the vision of a drug-free, free trade world, a world of peace and safety where international law and the goodwill of nations prevail. We share the hope of building a world where we can guarantee a clean environment and just and sustainable development for our children.
There is something else we share, Mr. President -- the certainty that the strength of our peoples lies in the values of freedom, democracy and justice, and also in deeply-felt family values.
You revealed some family secrets, Mr. President. (Laughter.) Tomorrow, we know the Clintons will be celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary. (Applause.) Let me congratulate you in advance. You have built a united family, a family of intense work, great education, enough success that today you share with the American people.
I know that the Clintons spent their honeymoon in Mexico, as it was revealed with a lot of detail by President Clinton. (Laughter.) I trust you will accept to visit again our country soon.
I invite you, all of you, to toast for this 20th wedding anniversary; for the well-being and happiness of the Clintons; for the prosperity of the American people; and for the new understanding between our two nations. Salud.
(A toast is offered.) (Applause.)
END 8:35 P.M. EDT