THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Santiago, Chile) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release April 16, 1998
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT CLINTON AND PRESIDENT FREI AT BEGINNING OF MEETING
La Moneda Santiago, Chile
11:45 A.M. (L)
PRESIDENT FREI: We're going to start this meeting and I would like, first of all, to extend a very warm welcome to the President of the United States, to the to the ministers and members of staff, and to the ministers of my Cabinet and the advisors for Chile.
It is an honor, a pleasure, a source of pride to have you all here. We had a very pleasant visit to the United States last year and we had the opportunity to get together in Washington to see the Congress, to visit some states and, at that point, I think we kicked off the beginning of our bilateral relationships. I would like to, therefore, extend a very cordial welcome to the entire delegation and to tell you that we are really proud to host the second Summit of the Americas.
We've been working very hard. We've done a lot of solid ground work with the cooperation of the United States. And I think that this summit will be exceedingly interesting because we will not only be talking about the problems of democracy and trade, but we'll be talking about topics that interest the person on the street, like education, justice, health and concerns of poor people.
I would like to point out that we had a very lengthy meeting with the U.S. President. We talked with great frankness about bilateral topics. We went over almost every single issue in our bilateral relationship with a lot of sincerity and with a positive spirit. We have noticed that our relationships are going through a very special moment, there is a lot of richness in the agenda, it's very versatile with a lot of topics. And the ministers that are present here will be -- have signed about 10 different documents on the environment, cooperation, et cetera.
And I believe that we are looking toward the future with a name to building more open societies, more democratic societies, and to put an end to the marginalization of our peoples, and would like to face squarely the big issues that are important at this point, like globalization, world trade.
I've told the President all that we've done in Chile since 1994, when we met at the first Summit of the Americas, and I've told him about all the efforts that we've put into channeling problems that arise in relationships and overcoming them. We're over the $7 billion of exchange. And obviously, there will always be a small amount of disputes or friction or conflicts, but the important thing is to find a way to settle these. And this is what we've been doing through the bilateral commissions.
And it seems to me that the real launching of this commission in bilateral trade and agriculture will be very important. It has been a very basic issue. And I think that what we want is to have a very open relationship with the United States in which we will talk not only about trade, but we'll be able to have a dialogue on the entire bilateral agenda and especially the hemispheric and global topics.
For Chile, Mr. President, it's an honor to receive you and your delegation. I think that this meeting proves that we will be able to find a way to solve the big problems of the world, that we have a great deal of agreement on the issues that are facing us in the Americas, that we can continue to work for the future of our peoples.
And I thank you once again for your state visit that is beginning. We will be meeting once again this afternoon. We'll be visiting the field, we will be meeting with business persons, we'll be having a state dinner here tonight. Tonight you'll see our Parliament, which is one of the oldest Parliaments in the world. And then we'll go to Cerro Castillo and we'll be able to talk about our relationships, our friendships and about building the future together and improving the quality of living of our peoples. And this is what we're interested in. And at this point I would like to give you the floor.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Thank you for making us all feel so welcome. I think it is clear that we have looked forward to this state visit for quite a long while, that we value greatly our relationship with Chile and that it is getting broader and deeper, something for which we are very grateful.
We did, as you said, have a very good conversation this morning, and we went over a large number of issues -- I think virtually everything that our ministers wanted us to discuss with one another. And I would like to express my appreciation for all the work that has been done on the declaration we are about to sign and announce, because it's quite important. It shows a very broad-based relationship; it shows a maturing relationship; and it demonstrated the kind of partnership that I think will be critical in the years ahead, not only to our own people, but to the hemisphere as a whole.
Let me also just say very briefly, I appreciate, more than I am capable of saying, I think, the work you have done on the Summit of the Americas and the preparation that your entire government has done, because it's clear that we're going to come out of this summit with two messages loud and clear. Number one, we are going forward with the process of hemispheric integration. And number two, we are doing it in a way that will change the lives of ordinary citizens in all of our countries. And that, I think, is the message we want the world to get and we certainly want our own people to get.
So I am extremely appreciative of what you have done, how you have done it, and of the remarkable progress that our relationship is making. And for all that, let me say thank you. I also thank you for keeping my Ambassador here for the last few years, my old friend and colleague. (Laughter.) He's kept me well-informed. And I thank you also for the work you've done especially with Mr. McLarty in his capacity as our special representative to Latin America.
But we're well pleased, and I must say I was very impressed with the document that all of you have produced and I thank you for your hard work on it.
END 11:53 A.M. (L)