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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 22, 2002

Remarks by the President in Dinner Toast
Museo de Contemporaneo
Monterrey, Mexico

8:00 P.M. (Local)

PRESIDENT BUSH:  Senor Presidente, Martha, Gobernador, distinguished guests, Laura and I thank you for this dinner.  And thank you for inviting us to Monterrey, a city that is home to so much of Mexico's industry and enterprise, and a city that embodies Mexico's prosperous future.

Monterrey has hosted a number of U.S. Presidents over the years, mi Papa, President Clinton, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  When Presidents Camacho y Roosevelt met here in April of 1943, they affirmed our two nation's World War II alliance and agreed to closer economic cooperation.  Today, we meet with a similar purpose.  We affirm our shared struggle against terror, and we work to promote the great alternatives to terror, prosperity and freedom and hope.

President Fox, I deeply appreciate your friendship and counsel, especially since September the 11th.  And the people of the United States are grateful for your visit to Ground Zero in New York to honor the victims.  And the world appreciates Mexico's support for the international coalition against terrorism.  The terrorists have declared war on civilization itself, and the civilized world will defeat them.

It wasn't all that long ago that Laura and I used to live right next door to Mexico.  During that time, I saw the steady emergence of a more confident and more hopeful nation.  I saw the strong and growing ties of culture and trade and kinship between our countries.  Mr. President, your election symbolized these changes and has reinforced them.  You're a true patriot with a compelling vision for a stronger and more prosperous Mexico.

I tell the people of my country that a strong and prosperous Mexico is good for the United States.  We're working well together, and I am confident our important work is just the beginning.  We will build on the success of the North American Free Trade Agreement, to expand the benefits of trade and markets to all of our people.

We can build on our political cooperation to make real progress on drug trafficking, environmental protection.  And we will build a border that is more open and more secure.  And we will confront the issue of migration in a spirit of mutual respect.

The Mexican proverb tells us, Tenemos mal los momentos, es cuando se conocen al los amigos.  (Applause.)

Senor Presidente, the United States knows who our friends are, and your enduring friendship allows me -- causes me to say muchas gracias. Today, we have a relationship of unprecedented closeness and cooperation. By continuing to work together, we can improve the lives of the people in our two nations, in our hemisphere and in our world.

Mr. President, I offer a toast to you, your gracious wife, and the great friendship between our two countries.

(A toast was offered.)

END                              8:10 P.M. CST

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