REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AT RECEPTION IN HIS HONOR
Lawn of State House
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Mr. Foreign Minister, PresidentMasire, Lady Obebile, Vice President Mogae, Mrs. Mogae, and all the otherpeople who have previously been recognized by a previous speaker. I amglad to be here and to receive such a warm welcome --and a standing ovationfrom all of you.
For Hillary and for me, this has been an extraordinary trip for ourentire American delegation. It has taken us from Africa's Western rim toits Southern shore; from its smallest villages to its most modern cities;from its youngest democracy, South Africa, to its oldest, Botswana.
We have seen the promise of a new Africa whose roots are deep here inyour soil, for you have been an inspiration to all who cherish freedom. Atyour independence three decades ago, Botswana was among the poorestcountries on Earth, with only two miles of paved roads and one publicsecondary school. Today you have a vibrant economy, a network of majorhighways, almost full enrollment in primary schools, and the longestaverage lifespan in sub-Saharan Africa. Congratulations to all of you.
Africa needs more Botswanas, and America is determined to support allthose who would follow your lead. Today I'm pleased to announce our intentto establish Radio Democracy for Africa, a Voice of America service aimeddirectly at encouraging progress toward freedom and democracy, respect forhuman rights, and an independent and objective media.
I the Congressman Royce in particular for his leadership in promotingthis program, as well as the other members of our congressional delegation.
Botswana's success was built by its people and by the dedicatedleaders they chose. President Masire, I am deeply honored to be amongthose here as you leave your distinguished tenure. As Vice President andFinance Minister, you sparked the engine of an economic miracle byestablishing the first joint ventures for mining diamonds. You createdBotswana's sound fiscal and monetary regimes. You negotiated Botswana'saccess to European markets. You earned the trust of your fellow citizens.
As President, you've ensured that human rights and the rule of lawcould make their home in Botswana. Your stand against apartheid and yoursupport of the ANC gave hope to all who yearned for dignity and equality inSouth Africa. You have been a leader in conserving wildlife. You've sentyour troops on missions of peace in Somalia, Rwanda, and Mozambique. Andas a founding member and host to the SADC Secretariat, you have helpedbring countries in this region closer together and create new opportunitiesfor your people.
Now, as you step down from public office after 18 years of leadership,you're ensuring the peaceful transfer of power that has come tocharacterize this land.
Mr. President, on behalf of all Americans, I salute you and yourachievements. I would say you have earned the right to go back to yourcattle ranch.
The United States has been very proud to support Botswana's progress.Botswana's success led to the bittersweet closing of our AID and PeaceCorps programs. But though these development programs have finished, theirlegacy endures. Lady Obebile, I know you taught many Peace CorpsVolunteers their first words in Setswana. You helped to ensure thatcountless young Americans came home with a lifelong love for your countryand this continent.
Now we're building on that spirit of cooperation to renew ourpartnership for the future, based on common values, common vision, andmutual respect. Together we can help all men and women in Africa securethe freedom that is their birthright. We can deepen our investment intrade and bring the prosperity to all citizens. We can work together todeter conflicts before they explode into crises. And together, we canprotect this fragile Earth for future generations.
Visitors to Botswana will never forget the beauty of your environment.Tomorrow, Hillary and I will have the great pleasure of visiting Chobeourselves. You have been blessed with abundant resources, but none ofthose is more precious than your people. Because of them, the future looksbright for Botswana and for the region as well.
So, Mr. President, on behalf of all Americans, thank you again for theextraordinary example you and the people of Botswana have set. I wish youall the best. America is proud to be Botswana's partner and friend. Thankyou very much.
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