Remarks by the President and President Sampaio of Portugal in Arrival Ceremony


Office of the Press Secretary
(Lisbon, Portugal)

For Immediate Release May 30, 2000


Plaza of Torre de Belem, Lisbon

11:10 A.M. (L)

PRESIDENT SAMPAIO: On behalf of Portugal, I have a great pleasure in welcoming you at the Tower of Belem. It was from here, five centuries ago, that the Portuguese navigators who explored the Atlantic coast of Africa discovered the maritime route to India, found Brazil and circumnavigated the Earth.

Our increasingly globalized world owes a lot to their deeds. It is a world in which every day there are more opportunities, more information, more justice, more individual responsibility, more freedom, more democracy. It is also a world lacking in solidarity, justice and governing capability.

Globalization requires the international community to take responsibility for the future of our planet. The United States of America has a decisive role in this process. I would like you to know, Mr. President, that insofar as possible, you can rely on our active collaboration. The United States and Europe, in which we are integrated, have the same values and share a great number of interests. We have a common responsibility to contribute to a fairer world where all human beings, whatever their race, sex or creed, can enjoy a decent life.

We have a common interest in guaranteeing peace and security in Europe and in the world, ensuring the prosperity of our economies and the defense of our values. Ahead of us lies an extensive agenda which we will be undertaking together, and I would like to underline some items promoting democracy and respect for human rights, making international cooperation quicker and more effective in the fight against poverty, disease and ignorance; extending the area of peace, democracy, prosperity and security guaranteed by the Atlantic Alliance and by the European Union; accomplishing the independence of East Timor and contributing to the consolidation of democracy in Indonesia; fighting against epidemics of infectious diseases that are, again, ravaging those areas of the globe, in particular the African continent; deepening the mutual knowledge between our two peoples and developing our scientific, economic and cultural ties. I am certain that your presence here today will encourage our two governments to face these challenges with renewed vigor.

Mr. President, on the threshold of the 21st century, the United States is at the forefront of many new discoveries -- exploring the universe, pushing forward the frontiers of science and advancing our technology. Before our eyes we see new possibilities, which until recently seemed to belong to the realm of fiction. The progress and dissemination of new communication and information technologies, the advance of biology and genetics and the conquest of space are shaping a new world that is reaching potential, but not altogether free of risks.

To place the progress of science at the service of humanity and meet the expectations common to the people of all continents of a peaceful and prosperous world, we must be firm in our principles, daring in our thoughts and clear minded in our actions. We have many challenges ahead of us. I am certain that we will be able to handle them if we can combine our efforts and maintain a courageous defense of our common interests. That is the meaning of your presence among us today. And for these, I thank you and welcome you to Portugal. (Applause.)

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Mr. President, Mrs. Sampaio, Mr. Prime Minister, members of the Portuguese government, citizens of Portugal. Here at this historic point of embarkation, from which Portuguese explorers led an entire continent to see beyond the horizon, we find ourselves again, as you said, Mr. President, on a new voyage of discovery.

And at the dawn of a new century, Portugal again is leading the way, strengthening the European Union while preserving our trans-Atlantic partnership; building peace in the Balkans, supporting democracy in Russia. Portugal has been a clear, strong voice for peace and stability throughout the world, and we have been proud to stand with you -- in responding to floods in Mozambique, in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations from Kosovo to Africa to East Timor.

I thank Portugal, especially, for its constant commitment to East Timor's freedom. Just before the ceremony began today, the President told me that some of the troops who marched for us soon will be sent to join the peacekeeping mission in East Timor. I know that this nation is proud of those troops and their mission; and on behalf of the American people I thank you for it.

The United States has always considered Portugal an especially good neighbor, thanks in no small part to the shared pride we both feel in the numbers, the character and the accomplishment of Portuguese Americans who have done so much to shape our nation.

I look forward to my meetings with the President and the Prime Minister. I want to learn more about new Portuguese initiatives on education, science and technology. I applaud Portugal for the work it is doing to give all its people the tools they need to succeed in this global Information Age.

I also look forward to the U.S.-E.U. summit. I hope we will use these meetings, not just to strengthen our own ties, but to address challenges beyond our borders. Mr. President, you mentioned many of them -- the AIDS epidemic in Africa and Asia, the economic gulfs separating the wealthiest from the rest of the world. These problems require innovation, imagination and courage. Portugal's history is filled with those qualities, and I believe Portugal again will lead the way.

When Vasco da Gama left here to explore Africa and India he built on the previous experiences of Portuguese explorers like Bartolomeu Dias, the first European to go around the Cape of Good Hope. That beautiful promontory briefly had a different name. It was called: Cabo das Tormentas, "Stormy Cape," after the storms that gathered round it. But after further reflection, its named was changed to Cabo da Boa Esperanca, the Cape of Good Hope, to reflect the unbounded confidence with which Portugal faced the future.

Well, we have a few stormy waters still to navigate. But we should do it with good hope, and we should do it together.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

END 11:20 A.M. (L)

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