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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 11, 2007
President Bush and President Parvanov of Bulgaria Exchange Toasts
National Museum of History
12:36 P.M. (Local)
PRESIDENT PARVANOV: (As translated.) Mr. President Bush, Mrs. Bush, dear friends, ladies and gentlemen, members of the delegations: May I welcome you most warmly to Bulgaria and tell you how pleased I am with the course of discussions we had earlier today.
My wife and I, we are happy to be able so soon after our visit to the United States to have our visit reciprocated by this visit of George and Laura, and it would be no overstatement to say that, indeed, this is a historic, a very significant visit.
I'm trying to find the key word that would describe most accurately this visit, and I can think of three. Indeed, the first word -- the first key word is trust, and this is trust that has been built throughout vicissitudes of our relations for a long time now. This is trust that has been built despite the changes and -- policy changing hands, despite the changes in government. And this can be testified by the -- my predecessors present here, by the former prime ministers, former politicians, speakers of parliament, and ministers attending this dinner.
The second keyword, or rather two words, are predictability and continuity. And last, but not least, these are relations that have a new quality, a new quality not just because of our belonging to a great community, that of NATO, but also because they have been tried and tested in a number of bilateral occasions by our bilateral relations, and also in a number of common operations.
And if previous visits or a previous visit by American President in this country have had a significance -- have had just the meaning of a message, this one is also full of substance. This is a working, businesslike visit. I do hope that the talks we had today, very profound, very meaningful talks, will capitalize, will spur on the seeking and finding of solutions and common avenues of working together in all walks of life. I do hope we'll be able to achieve a more diverse structure of trade and investment from the American side. I do hope that the clear message, and the will expressed by the President in respect of the visa regime will have -- will bear fruit, will be heard by the Congress and the American institutions in charge.
I'm sure that in the aftermath of these talks -- meetings and talks, there will be a more intense cooperation in the military sphere. And I hope that the signs, the words, the messages that were addressed from Sofia to Tripoli today will reach their addressees to everyone who is concerned.
Our joint efforts will continue to find more securities for the -- security, more guarantees for the security of the Euro-Atlantic space. At the beginning of our talks today, the President said that Bulgaria is a good place to invest, that the best litmus for a country to invest in is its stability, and that business goes where it can have profit. It cannot be led or administered. I do hope that his visit today will send the right message, the right and positive message, and attract investors; tell them that Bulgaria is a good place to invest, that the Bulgarian citizens are nice people, that this is a stable and predictable country.
Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in a toast to the health of the President of the United States of America, George Walker Bush, to the health of his wife, Laura Bush, to the health of everybody present, to the prosperity of both nations.
(A toast is offered.)
PRESIDENT BUSH: Mrs. Parvanova, Prime Minister, Mr. Speaker, members of the government, and distinguished guests: Laura and I are thrilled to be with you, and we're really happy to be in your country.
You know, sitting here in this beautiful museum reminds me of the great history of Bulgaria. And it was important for me to be with leaders who are still writing a history of this important country. And for a person who was raised in the deserts of Texas, this is a magnificent view. It reminds me of the beauty of your country. I was telling the President, my only regret is that we didn't have this meeting on the beaches.
I congratulate you on your admission into the EU. A lot of people said, there is no way that Bulgaria can do the necessary things to join the EU, and you proved the critics wrong. We're proud to be a member of NATO with you. Bulgaria is a valued ally of all of us in NATO, and a valued ally of the United States.
I thank you for your strong stand for freedom. I thank you for helping spread liberty into places like Iraq and Afghanistan, where people want to live a peaceful and free life. I appreciate the sacrifices the people of this country have made to support the troops and their families. I firmly believe that the actions we're taking are laying the foundation of peace for generations to come. I think people will look back at this moment in history and say, thank God there were people who still stood strong for liberty and freedom as the alternative to tyranny and oppression.
We discussed a lot of issues. I appreciated your leader's advice on Kosovo. It's important advice, and I took it seriously. Kosovo must be independent. And I thank them for their advice as to how to best achieve that.
I made it clear the visa policy needs to be changed.
And I care deeply about the Bulgarian nurses. We're working on a strategy to make sure that these nurses come home as quickly as possible.
And we had a constructive, candid, important conversations today. Our friendship is strong, and we intend to keep it that way.
So I'd like to propose a toast to the President, his good wife, to the people of Bulgaria, to the friendship between the United States and Bulgaria.
(A toast is offered.) (Applause.)
END 12:49 P.M. (Local)