THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
|For Immediate Release|| ||April 24, 1999|
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AND SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA
AT DINNER IN HONOR OF LEADERS OF THE
EURO-ATLANTIC PARTNERSHIP COUNCIL
Pavilion, South Lawn
9:27 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Please be seated.Mr. Secretary General, Mrs. Solana; allies and friends: It's a greathonor for Hillary and for me to welcome the largest group of worldleaders ever to assemble in Washington here to the White House onthis beautiful spring evening.
Just a few years ago, a gathering of all the nationshere in partnership would have been unthinkable. But we are all heretonight because we are thinking -- we are thinking of a futurebrighter than the past; a future of shared values and shared visions;a future in which we define national greatness by its commitments tohuman rights and mutual respect, not to ethnic and religious bigotry.In which we measure the success of nations by how well we lift peopleup, not by how much we tear them down.
In a world full of both promise and peril, where forgood or ill our destinies are more and more linked, we have chosen tobe allies, partners, and friends. In an age most observers define bythe rise of modern technology, modern scientific breakthroughs, amodern global economy, it is ironic and painful that all over theworld and, of course, especially in Kosovo, the peace is threatenedby the oldest demon of society -- the fear and hatred of the other --those who are of a different race or ethnic background or religion.
Just a few days ago, a voice from the age we honor atthis 50th Anniversary Summit spoke to us from his home in Poland.Marek Edelman, a hero of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, published aletter here in an American newspaper urging all of us to persevere inKosovo. "I know," he wrote, "like all of my generation, that freedomhas and must have its price."
Tonight we remember that the burden of defending freedomand peace is lighter when it is shouldered by so many.And we remember that the cause of freedom and peace is stronger whenit is embraced by a group of nations as great and diverse as thosewho are joined together in this Council.
And so I ask all of you to join me now in a toast to theleaders and the people of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. Andthank you very much.
(The toast is offered.) (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Secretary General.
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: Mr. President, Mrs. Clinton;Presidents; Prime Ministers; Excellencies; ladies and gentlemen:Fifty years ago, when the North Atlantic Treaty was signed, only 12countries were represented here in Washington. Today, the heads ofstate and government of more than 40 countries are attending thecommemoration of that anniversary. Your presence here is a mostvivid illustration of how much our world has changed, and changed, nodoubt, for the better.
Today every country in the Euro-Atlantic area can comearound the same table to discuss agreed issues and work out ways toaddress those issues together. Never before in history have therebeen such a strong cooperative momentum. Never before have we seenso many nations working together for the same end, for the samegoals. Indeed, if there is anything our meetings today and tomorrowdemonstrate beyond any doubt, it is that cooperation and partnershiphave become firmly established as basic principles throughout theEuro-Atlantic area.
These cooperative ties must be strengthened further.The Euro-Atlantic area is troubled by violent conflict in manyplaces. To make all the Euro-Atlantic area a zone of peace, a zoneof stability, we must tighten the web of cooperation even more.
But we must also be prepared to act in support ofprinciples -- the principles we proclaim to uphold. Many of ourparties are playing a key role in major efforts to bring a just peaceto Kosovo. I thank them for all of that. And let me assure thatthey, in turn, can count on NATO support in these challenging times.
Dear friends, we live in difficult moments, but it'sgreat to see you all around. And as I said, principles not only haveto be proclaimed, but have to be defended. Thank you very much foryour cooperation. (Applause.)
Let me ask you please to raise for a toast for thisextraordinary partnership. Thank you very much.
(A toast is offered.) (Applause.)