For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 5, 2001
Remarks by President George Bush
And President Vicente Fox of Mexico
at Arrival Ceremony
the South Lawn
10:12 A.M. EDT
PRESIDENT BUSH: Mr. President, Mrs. Fox, members of the
Mexican delegation, distinguished guests: On behalf of the
American people, it is my honor to welcome you to the United States.
Mexico is the first country I visited as
President. Today it is my privilege to welcome President Fox
for the first state visit of my administration. This is a
recognition that the United States has no more important relationship
in the world than the one we have with Mexico.
The starting point of a sound foreign
policy is to build a stable and prosperous neighborhood, with good
relations amongst neighbors. Good neighbors work together
and benefit from each other's successes.
Mr. President, you are a Mexican patriot
with a great vision for a great people -- a vision of justice and
prosperity. Your election signaled a new birth of freedom
for Mexico and set an example for the entire world. The United States
is proud to stand beside you as your partner and as your friend.
Our nations have an historic opportunity
to build an authentic partnership grounded in trust and in
freedom. Since 1994, the Free Trade Agreement amongst our
two countries and Canada has created millions of jobs and lifted
millions of lives. NAFTA stands as a model for the benefits
that are possible when trade is open and free. Today, our
two nations are working together to extend the benefits of free trade
throughout our hemisphere and throughout the world.
Our common interests, however, extend far
beyond commerce. We value the cultural contributions each
nation makes to each other. We treasure the family ties that
bind so many millions of our citizens. We understand that
the border we share is a vibrant region that unites us.
We understand that our two nations must
work together in a spirit of respect and common purpose to seize
opportunities and tackle challenges on the issues that affect the lives
of our citizens, including migration, the environment, drugs, crime,
corruption, and education. And both our governments share a
great project, a fully democratic Western Hemisphere that grows in
prosperity and trades in freedom.
Some have described the century that just
passed as the American century. Now we look
forward. We have a chance to build a century of the
Americas, in which all our people, North and South, find the blessings
of liberty. This goal is worthy of our two great nations.
A Mexican proverb tells us that "Que tiene
un buen vecino tiene un buen amigo" -- "He who has a good neighbor has
a good friend." Today, both our countries are committed to
being good neighbors, and good friends. Friends deal in good faith,
and disagree with respect. Friends stick together, in good
times and in bad.
Most of all, friends bring out the best in
each other. Today, Mexico and the United States are bringing
out the best in each other -- in commerce, in culture, and in our
shared commitment to democratic values. We're building a relationship
that is unique in the world, a relationship of unprecedented closeness
and cooperation. And this visit is a milestone on that
President Fox, in February you welcomed me
in your home in Guanajuato. Today, Laura and I and the American people
are honored to welcome you and Mrs. Fox to the casa blanca nuestro
pais. (Laughter.) Thank you for
PRESIDENT FOX: President George
Bush, Mrs. Laura Welsh Bush, ladies and gentlemen, friends,
all: I want to express to you my most sincere thanks for
this warm reception, and to present to you, Mr. President, and to the
people of the United States, the greeting of fraternity, warmth and
solidarity of the people of Mexico. It is a great honor for
me to come once again to this great nation and to have the privilege of
enjoying your hospitality.
I have come to Washington today as the
President of a democratic Mexico, of a Mexico determined to become a
prosperous, secure nation, open to the world; a vibrant and dynamic
country which seeks not only to strengthen its bonds of friendship with
the rest of the international community, but is also determined to play
a more active role in establishing the new international architecture.
I have said with conviction on several
occasions that our two countries at present are living in an era which
is unique in the history of our relations -- an era full of challenges
that we must face united, and of opportunities which we must take up
together. For it is only in this way that we will be able to
make that area of prosperity shared between Mexico and the United
States that we are building a reality, along with Canada and all of
Today our countries have an intense flow
of trade. Today Mexico buys from the United States more
products and services than from Spain, Germany, France and Italy,
combined. We share the most dynamic border in the world.
The contacts between the cities and the states along the border are
growing and diverse in nature. And our societies have links
which grow stronger and more friendly every day.
We wish to take advantage of that
foundation in order to strengthen our economic ties, providing a
lasting and mutually beneficial solution to the challenges that
naturally arise in a relationship as complex and dynamic as our
own. We wish to consolidate our cultural and educational
exchange, aware of the wealth of our heritage and traditions, and
attaching special importance to scientific, technological and computer
We also wish to strengthen in every sense
of the word our cooperation in fighting drug trafficking and organized
crime. Likewise, we want to continue making progress towards the
establishment of an agreement on migration which will be of mutual
benefit to us, and which will recognize above all the value of migrants
as human beings and as workers whose hard work is a daily contribution
to the prosperity of this great nation.
The time has come to give migrants and
their communities their proper place in the history of our bilateral
relations. Both our countries owe them a great
deal. And working together, both of us can build new
conditions of fairness for them, as well as for the development and
prosperity of our two nations.
For this reason, we must, and we can,
reach an agreement on migration before the end of this very year, which
will allow us, before the end of our respective terms, to make sure
that there are no Mexicans who have not entered this country legally in
the United States, and that those Mexicans who have come into the
country do so with the proper documents.
Mr. President, the values that we share
and the interests that bind us must reaffirm our determination to make
of the relationship between Mexico and the United States an example of
prosperity and understanding. And this will only be possible
if we are willing to strengthen the trust between our two nations,
because it is only through trust that we will be able to reach the
goals that we have set for ourselves.
Together, let us defend the values of
democracy and the respect for human rights in our region and throughout
the world. Let us see free trade as the engine of economic
growth and the source of a better standard of living for our two
peoples. Let us understand development with justice to be an
inclusive form of prosperity. Let us make law and respect
for the law the indispensable framework on which the freedom and
security of our citizens depend.
Let us walk together along the path of
prosperity with a firm step as partners and as friends, recalling the
words of Benjamin Franklin: "A brother may not be a friend,
but a friend will always be a brother."
President Bush, my friend, you honored me
by visiting my home in Mexico. Today, I feel honored to be
welcomed here in the White House. Thank you very