THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release March 25, 1998 7:15 P.M. (L)
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AT ENTEBBE SUMMIT FOR PEACE AND PROSPERITY
Imperial Botanical Beach Hotel
THE PRESIDENT: President Museveni, President Moi, Prime Minister Meles, President Bizimungu, President Mkapa, President Kabila, Secretary General Salim; to our distinguished guests, all. Let me, first of all, thank the representatives of all the governments who are here, and the leaders who have come to Entebbe to share a common vision of a brighter future for this region.
We seek to deepen the progress that has been made and to meet the tough challenges that remain. We came to Entebbe because we share a commitment to strengthen our cooperation, to build a partnership for the 21st century that will benefit all our people.
We understand, and the last statement I made at our meeting was that these goals will not be met in one meeting or one day or one year, but we have formed a solid foundation for progress in the future. Our challenge as we leave Entebbe is to bring to life the commitment in the remarkable document we have just signed.
What is in the document? First, we have agreed to deepen our efforts to promote democracy and respect for human rights, the precious soil in which peace and prosperity grow. When men and women alike are treated with dignity, when they have a say in decisions that affect their lives, societies are better equipped to seize the opportunities of the future.
We have emphasized the importance of freely elected, accountable governments; affirmed the vital role of civic organizations in building strong and vibrant societies; and pledged to uphold humanitarian principles, including the protection and care of refugees.
America knows from our own experience that there is no single blueprint for a successful democracy. We're still working in our country to create what our founders called a more perfect union. We've been at it for 222 years now. But we also know that while there is no single blueprint, freedom, nonetheless, is a universal aspiration. Human rights are not bestowed on the basis of wealth or race, of gender or ethnicity, of culture or region. They are the birthright of all men and women everywhere.
If we work together to strengthen democracy and respect human rights, we can help this continent reach its full potential in the 21st century -- its true greatness, which has too long been denied. We can deepen the ties among our peoples. We can be a force for good together, and all our nations can be proud.
Second, we have agreed to work together to build a new economic future, where the talents of Africa's people are unleased, the doors of opportunity are opened to all, and countries move from the margins to the mainstream of the global economy. We committed to work on finding new strategies to hasten Africa's global integration. We pledged to speed the regional cooperation that is already underway, to encourage common standards for openness and anticorruption, to continue to be responsive to the burden of debt.
A key part of our effort is expanding the ties of trade and investment between our countries so that African development and Asian growth -- and American growth, excuse me --reinforce one another. We want to reward each other for working together. Before I left for Africa I told the American people that it was in our interest to help Africa grow and blossom and reach its full potential. I believe that.
I want to thank the members of the United States House of Representatives who are on this trip with me for their leadership in the passage in the House of the African Growth and Opportunity Act. I am committed to the swift passage of that act in the United States Senate and to signing it when I return home. I am very pleased that our Overseas Private Investment Corporation will be targeting half a billion dollars for infrastructure and investment in sub-Saharan Africa.
Third, we have agreed to work together to banish genocide from this region and this continent. Every African child has the right to grow up in safety and peace. We condemn the perpetrators of the continued atrocities in Rwanda, and pledge to work together to end the horrors of this region. That means reviving the U.N. Arms Flow Commission, acting on the recommendations of the OAU study on the Rwandan genocide and its aftermath; encouraging accelerated progress in bringing criminals against humanity to justice; denying safe havens or services to extremist organizations; and developing durable justice systems that are credible, impartial, and effective. Our efforts come too late for yesterday's victims. They must be in time for tomorrow's victims.
Here today -- and this is very important -- we have pledge to find new ways to work together to solve conflicts before they explode into crises and to act to stop them more quickly when they do.
We have pursued our discussion in a spirit of candor and neutral respect, and I want to thank all the participants for being honest and open in our conversations. America shares a stake in Africa's success, as I said. If African nations become stronger, as they surely will, if they become more dynamic, as they clearly are, we can become even better partners in meeting our common challenges. Your stability, your security, your prosperity will add to our own. And our vitality can and must contribute to yours.
I've learned a lot here in Entebbe today, listening -- and will carry back to Washington, as I'm sure the rest of our delegation will. We've agreed to build on this summit with regular, high-level meetings. We will look for results of our efforts not only in statements like this one today, with very high visibility, but in quiet places far from the halls of government; in communities and households all across our countries, where ordinary men and women strive each day to build strong families, to build good jobs, to pass on better lives for their children. They are the reason we are here. And it is because of them that we all leave Entebbe determined to put our partnership into practice, to make our dreams and ideals real.
Thank you very much.
End 7:22 P.M. (L)