Mr. President, distinguished guests: Laura and I offer you a warm welcome to the White House, or should I say, "Bienvenue a la Maison Blanche." [Laughter]
In 1777, another George W. welcomed to America another Frenchman. His name was Lafayette. The two leaders built a strong friendship based on common values and common virtues. They both recognized the power of human freedom. They both served with courage in freedom's cause, and they both anticipated that freedom would advance in other lands following its victory here in America.
Two centuries later, our two nations are honoring the legacy of Lafayette by helping others resist tyranny and terror. French and American troops are helping to defend a young democracy in Afghanistan. Our two nations support the democratic Government of Lebanon. We agree that reconciliation and democracy in Iraq are vital to the future of the Middle East. And our two nations condemn violations of human rights in Darfur, in Burma, and around the world.
France and the United States can meet great challenges when we work together, Mr. President. You and I share a commitment to deepen the cooperation of our two republics, and through this cooperation, we can make the world a better place.
I look forward to our discussions at Mount Vernon, where George Washington welcomed his friend Lafayette. And in the spirit of our friendship, I offer a toast to you and to some of America's oldest friends, the free people of France.