Toasts at the State
Dinner for President MoussaTraore
October 6, 1988
Reagan. Mr. President, it's a pleasure to welcome you here this evening. We're
honored by your visit to the United States, both as the President
of Mali and as the Chairman of the Organization of African Unity. During your
visit, we've been discussing issues of concern to Mali, the Organization of
African Unity, and the United States. And I'm gratified that
you share our concerns about regional stability and economic development in Africa. And we've appreciated
your efforts to promote peace and development.
want you to know that we'll continue to work with you and be as supportive as
possible in addressing these areas. But Africans and Americans do not just
share a concern for various international problems. We share a rich cultural
heritage as well. One out of six Americans, Mr. President, trace
their ancestry to Africa. And indeed all of us are very proud of that
African heritage and are eager to learn more about the African cultures from
which they came.
think this points to another common cultural thread
between Mali and the United States. Mali has a proud and ancient
history. It had three empires before Europeans first settled in what is now the
United States. Malian explorers
sailed the high seas and may even have visited America. All Americans, even if
they know little else about Africa, have heard of the
great and historical city of Timbuktu. It once meant to us a
distant place. Your visit has brought both our nations closer. Mali, like the United States, is a country made up
of people from different ethnic and religious groups. We admire Mali's respect for diversity
that is both in your constitution and in practice. I know you're all amazed at
my ability at French. [Laughter]
believe that the ethnic diversity of the United States is one of our country's
greatest strengths. And I think this is best summed up in one of your proverbs:
One person, one thought; two persons, two thoughts. From the ideas of many
different people and the freedom to express those ideas comes the strength of a
President, I look forward to continuing to share ideas with you. By exchanging
ideas and working together with the leaders of a great and ancient continent, I
believe we can find solutions with a human face to the problems confronting the
world. I salute you as a good friend, a great leader of your people, and as the
Chairman of the Organization of African Unity. And so, can we raise our
glasses, to President Traore and Madame Traore.
Traore. Mr. President, Members of the Congress and
Members of the Senate, members of the administration, your excellencies,
Ambassadors, ladies and gentlemen: May I on this occasion renew my very sincere
thanks to you, as well as the thanks of my delegation for the warm welcome and
very cordial hospitality that we have been enjoying ever since we arrived in
the United States, this great and beautiful land of freedom.
Mr.President, Mali and the United States have excellent
relations in the areas of political, economic, social, and cultural relations.
The many agreements for cooperation between our two countries cover all fields
of activity, and they fall very clearly within our strategy for development. We
seek, first of all, self-sufficiency in food production, control of our water
resources, breaking away from the landlocked situation of our country -- both
domestic and foreign -- and training our human resources.
happy to salute here the very valuable assistance that your government has been
extending to us in securing these objectives. In order to have a better
performance for our economy, we have undertaken, together with international
financial institutions and friendly nations, a very profound and exhaustive
reform which touches upon all sectors of development -- public finances, state-owned
enterprises, developments of the rural area, and private sector. Basically, we
are seeking to mobilize all energies and all the creative potential of the
people -- Mali. The people
of Mali, just
like the people of the United
States, has a very highly developed
sense of enterprise.
President, ladies and gentlemen, concerning Africa, our principal concerns
remain the total liberation of the continent and the social and economic
development. Recent trends in southern Africa allow us to think that
it may soon become a reality that Resolution 435 may soon become implemented
helping Namibia accede to independence.
The international community must spare no effort and gather all its strength in
order to force the governments of South Africa to comply with the
requirements of the implementation of this pertinent resolution. Side by side
with the fighters of South Africa, the Organization of
African Unity will continue to struggle for the taking down of the intolerable
system of apartheid. We seek to establish in South Africa a more humane, more
just society which has been rid of all forms of segregation.
this connection, Africa enjoys very much the ever-growing support of
the great American people. Your Constitution, your democratic traditions have
inspired many people throughout the world.
the economic area, Mr. President, it is urgent to find a just and lasting
solution to the problem of the African debt. Thus, the Organization of African
Unity has been calling for the convening of an international conference on that
issue. In solving the problem of the African debt, we will have to factor in
the issue of raw materials and commodity prices as Africa is a producer because
it is only through a just remuneration of their production that the African
nations will secure the steady resources necessary to their development and to
payment of the debts.
I, in closing, ladies and gentlemen, ask you to raise your glass with me to the
health of President Ronald Reagan, to the health of Mrs. Reagan, the
strengthening of the friendship between our two nations, and closer bonds of
cooperation and solidarity among all people of the world.
I thank you.
Note: President Reagan
spoke at in the State Dining Room at the White House. President Traore spoke in French, and his remarks were translated by