Mr. President, members of your delegation, members of my Cabinet, Members of the United States Senate and United States Congress, honored guests: Welcome to the White House. Laura and I are really pleased you all are here. Our nations share a faith in liberty, a willingness to defend it, and a confidence that freedom will define the future for our region. The American people, Mr. President, are proud to call the Colombian people our friends and our allies.
You, Mr. President, are a strong leader. You and your Government and the Colombian people have shown courage in freedom's cause by taking on the terrorists and the drug lords. This summer, our Nation was impressed by the daring rescue of 15 hostages, 3 of whom were American citizens. We appreciate your leadership. We are pleased to be your partner in strengthening the rule of law and combating the illegal drug trade and helping victims of violence rebuild their lives and communities.
We're also partners in the spread of prosperity. We have negotiated a fair free trade agreement that will benefit families and businesses in both our nations. And I appreciate your strong advocacy for this agreement. And my sincere hope is that the United States Congress will pass the Colombia free trade agreement as soon as possible.
Mr. President, Laura and I warmly remember our visits to your beautiful country. We were honored to visit a city liberated by the great Simon Bolivar. And in that visit we were honored to be with you and your lovely wife.
And so tonight I want to propose a toast to our friendship, the friendship between our countries. May God bless Colombia, and may God bless the United States.