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Remarks on Arrival in Guatemala City, Guatemala

March 10, 1999

Mr. President, representatives of the Guatemalan Government and people, we thank you for your warm welcome. I am honored to have the chance to be greeted here, in a place that recalls both Guatemala's marvelous cultural heritage and its past of conflicts and pain.

And I am especially grateful for the chance to meet you today, at a time when Guatemala is building a future of democracy, reconciliation, and peace. You have ended a cruel war. You have given your people—all your people—a chance to shape their destiny and to stand on their own. You have faced the past with candor and found the courage to move forward. You are teaching the world that no conflict is so bitter, no gulf is so wide that it cannot be overcome by the power of good government and by people of good will.

In a few moments, I will have the opportunity to discuss, with a broad range of Guatemalan citizens, the progress of peace in your country.

I will reaffirm America's commitment to shed light on the dark events of the past, so that they are never repeated, and to help you implement the peace accords in a way that ensures that the human rights of the Guatemalan people are always respected.

Tomorrow I will meet with President Arzu, and we will join with the leaders of Central America in a summit in Antigua to continue our efforts to build in this hemisphere a community of true democracies in which all our nations finally can prosper together. That is our common goal. Lo lograremos como socios y como amigos.

Thank you very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 4:15 p.m. in the courtyard at the National Palace of Culture. In his remarks, he referred to President Alvaro Arzu of Guatemala.

William J. Clinton, Remarks on Arrival in Guatemala City, Guatemala Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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