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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 23, 1998


              Visit of President Julio Maria Sanguinetti
                              of Uruguay

President Clinton and President Sanguinetti of Uruguay held a working visit at the White House on July 23, 1998. President Sanguinetti's visit reflects the high value that the United States places on close cooperation with Uruguay, as well as the commitment of both governments to a broad range of mutual goals.

President Clinton praised Uruguay as proof that democracy can deliver sustainable development that includes economic reform, environmental protection, and social justice. President Clinton noted that Uruguay's record of accomplishments in education, in particular, serves as an important example to others in the region.

The two leaders also discussed global and regional issues of mutual concern, focusing particularly on their shared commitment to the environment, international peacekeeping, and hemispheric initiatives, such as the establishment of a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

Recognizing Uruguay's progress in the area of the environment, President Clinton stated that he looks forward to President Sanguinetti's continued support on climate change, and that he would welcome Sanguinetti's leadership in getting developing countries to make meaningful commitments in this area.

President Clinton commended Uruguay for its consistent support to international peacekeeping operations around the world, and expressed his deepest sympathies over the tragic loss of the Uruguayan military observer, who was killed on Monday on a peacekeeping mission in Tajikistan.

The two leaders reiterated their commitment to the completion of a comprehensive FTAA agreement by 2005, and stressed the importance of bringing the views of all sectors of society to the FTAA table. As the administrative headquarters and financial center of the regional economic group MERCOSUR, Uruguay has played a key role in accelerating the process of integration already underway in the hemisphere.

President Clinton expressed his appreciation for President Sanguinetti's support of the "Vital Voices of the Americas: Women in Democracy" Conference to be held in Montevideo in October, and stated that the First Lady is looking forward to her first visit to Uruguay, where she will address the gathering. The conference, cosponsored by the U.S. Government and the Inter-American Development Bank, will gather 400 women from all sectors of society throughout the Americas to consider legal, political, and economic goals drawn from the Plan of Action created at the April 1998 Summit of the Americas in Santiago, Chile.

At the close of the meeting, President Clinton conveyed to President Sanguinetti the warm greetings and best wishes of the American people to the citizens of Uruguay.