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Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony in Rome

May 26, 1989

Well, let me begin by thanking all of you and my personal friend, my good friend, Prime Minister De Mita, for welcoming us to Italy at this late hour. Since ancient times, the saying goes, "All roads lead to Rome," and that's still true. And it is very fitting that here I begin my first step on this first trip to Europe as President of the United States. Italy has long been a wellspring of Western culture and Western values, fostering the alliance and a more unified Europe. I hope that our visit to Rome will demonstrate just how strongly the United States respects and appreciates Italy's role as a staunch ally and as a constant friend.

When our common security has been threatened, you have been ready to strengthen the alliance. And when Europe appeared ready to loosen the ties that sustained it, you kept these important transatlantic ties alive and strong. And when conflict has threatened, you have been in the front ranks of those searching for solutions. The bond between the United States and Italy runs deep. It's a bond of family, of culture, of shared interests and common vision. The world around us is changing, but we can be sure that our friendship will endure.

Mr. Prime Minister, when we last met, we talked of new developments around the world: of change in the East, of new opportunities for arms reduction, of the growing unity of Europe. And in recent weeks, I've spoken of America's vision for world peace. I have said that we are prepared to move beyond containment, toward policy that works to bring the Soviet Union into the community of nations. We will be actively engaged in Eastern Europe, promoting measures to encourage political and economic liberalization in Poland. The United States welcomes a stronger and more united Europe. We believe, as I know you do, that European unity and the transatlantic partnership reinforce each other.

Over the next 2 days, we'll have the opportunity to engage in renewed dialog, as partners, certainly as friends. And I hope that our conversations are shaped by our shared expectations for the future and by our determination to see our future succeed. I am delighted to be back in Rome. Thank you again for this warm welcome.

Note: The President spoke at 10:27 p.m. on the tarmac at Ciampino Airport.

George Bush, Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony in Rome Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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