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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 6, 2003
President Bush and President Kibaki of Kenya Toast Remarks
Remarks by President Bush and President Kibaki of Kenya in An Exchange of Toasts
8:36 P.M. EDT
PRESIDENT BUSH: It is a real honor for us to welcome you. Our two nations are old friends and natural partners. We both emerged from a colonial past to become free nations. We stood together during the Cold War, opposing imperial communism. Today, we stand together against the forces of terror and in the defense of human dignity.
We both understand the danger and cost of terrorism. It has brought damage to both our economies and grief to both our nations. With us tonight are two women who suffered terribly on August 7, 1998. Susan Hirsh lost her husband, Abdulrahman Mohamed Abdulla, a Kenyan citizen, in the attack on the U.S. embassy is Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. And Susan Bartley lost her husband, Julian, our U.S. Consul General, and her son, Jay, when the terrorists struck our embassy in Nairobi. Both of you are honored guests here tonight, and we honor as well the memories of your loved ones.
America and Kenya are committed to the war on terror, and we seek a just and peaceful world beyond the war on terror. Kenya is finding what America has found -- that democracy and liberty and free markets are honorable and just and indispensable to real progress. The challenges of freedom are real -- yet the benefits of freedom are great and everlasting.
There is a Swahili proverb which says, "Forever persist; a rope can cut stone." Kenya and its leaders have been persistent and courageous in the cause of freedom, you're resolved in the fight against terror. Kenya is an example to all of Africa, and a respected partner of America.
For all these reasons, Mr. President, I'm pleased to offer a toast to the enduring friendship between Kenya and the United States of America.
(A toast is offered.) (Applause.)
PRESIDENT KIBAKI: Mr. President, accept my sincere gratitude for the warm hospitality extended to me and my delegation. This State Visit comes in the first year of my presidency, and is a great honor to me and the people of Kenya. It is also a sign of your commitment in nurturing the bonds of friendship between the United States and Kenya. Thank you for your goodwill message in January of this year, immediately after I was sworn into office. I would also like to thank you for your kind words of consolation following the passing of my Vice President in August of this year.
Mr. President, our two nations share the important values of democracy and freedom and liberty. My visit to the United States has indeed reinforced this mutual conviction and determination to ensure that our two peoples cherish these values. I am optimistic that it will mark the beginning of a new era of engagement between our two countries.
During your Inaugural Address, you stated, "Our democratic faith is more than the creed of our country. It is the inborn hope of our humanity; an ideal we carry, but do not own; a trust we bear and pass along."
Indeed, Mr. President, as leaders, we are only but custodians of the people's will. Kenyans had the opportunity to institute charge during the general elections last December. By voting overwhelmingly for the National Rainbow Coalition, our people demonstrated their strong commitment to democracy, peace and economic progress. The vote was an indication that a democratic culture has taken root in Kenya. Indeed, the smooth political transition was a trial for Kenya and the African continent.
I particularly wish to applaud your commitment and determination to build partnership with Africa through such initiatives as AGOA, the Millennium Challenge Account, and the New Partnership for Africa's Development, NEPAD. Furthermore, I am touched by your personal resolve to address the various challenges confronting the African continent.
We especially commend your administration for the $15 billion initiative to support Africa and the Caribbean countries in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS. Kenya will always be grateful for you're selfless and times intervention in helping us confront the biggest development challenge of our times. And, indeed, future generations will judge us by how we manage a disease that strikes at the very heart of the family unit.
Mr. President, the African Growth and Opportunity Act has acted -- created enormous opportunities for our people. I am optimistic that our two nations will work together and extend this program for our mutual benefit. I also welcome your administration's proposal to establish a Millennium Challenge Account to promote the sustainable development of countries -- of developing countries.
It is our desire that Kenya be fast-tracked into the program to help consolidate our democratic gains. This will send positive signals to the rest of the world, for democracy pays dividends. And, indeed, Kenya has done its part to deserve a dividend. The task assigned by my government, by Kenyans, is to construct the Kenyan nation. Our clarion call to Kenyans is to build a working nation based on honest labor and just reward. After years of corruption, Kenyans now have a window of opportunity to reconstruct a new country.
One of our economic pillars is tourism. Unfortunately, the sector has suffered heavily -- heavy losses following travel bans imposed by the United States. I am therefore appealing for a lifting of the travel ban.
My government supports your efforts and those of the international community in the war against terrorism. There will be sacrifice to be made. As the world becomes a safer place, your efforts and ours, and of those who love peace in this direction, will be appreciated even by our critics.
Mr. President, my government looks forward to working together with your administration in resolving the conflicts in the Horn of Africa. I am happy to inform you that we are making every good progress towards durable peace and stability in the Sudan. Significant progress has also been made in the Somali peace talks. We commend your government for the support you continue to render for these initiatives. Peace and stability is crucial for the sustainable development of our subregion.
May I, now, request you, ladies and gentlemen, to be upstanding and to toast the good health of President George Bush and the First Lady, Laura Bush, and for the continued good relations between our two countries.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you, Mr. President.
PRESIDENT KIBAKI: Thank you very much.
(A toast is offered.) (Applause.)
END 8:48 P.M. EDT