June 30, 2005
President Discusses G8 Summit, Progress in Africa
Meyer Auditorium at Freer Gallery
9:40 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Thanks a lot. Please be seated. Thanks for the warm welcome. It's a pleasure for Laura and me to join you here at the Smithsonian, where America's heritage is kept and where the achievements of all cultures are celebrated.
I thank Wally Stern for your kind introduction and for his leadership of the Hudson Institute. I appreciate all the Hudson Institute members who are here. Thank you for your service to our country. I want to thank the members of the Diplomatic Corps who have joined us. I appreciate your coming. class=floatright src="/files/media/events/g8summit1.jpg">
I particularly want to say thanks to the ambassadors from the African nations who are here. I have visited your beautiful and hopeful continent, and next month, Laura will travel to South Africa, Tanzania and Rwanda to highlight the partnership we're building on education, the empowerment of women, and the fight against HIV/AIDS. She's a really good ambassador for our country. (Applause.)
I want to -- I appreciate our Secretary of State who has joined us today. Condoleezza Rice, I'm proud you're here. Thanks for joining us. You're doing a fabulous job, by the way. (Applause.) Ambassador Rob Portman, the U.S. Trade Representative is with us. Ambassador, thanks for joining us. (Applause.) Andrew Natsios, Administrator of USAID is with us. Good to see you, Andrew. Thanks for coming. (Applause.) Randy Tobias, who is the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator -- Ambassador Randy Tobias -- thank you for joining us, Mr. Ambassador. (Applause.) I appreciate your noble work.
I want to thank Senator Sam Brownback and Congressman Jim Kolbe and Congresswoman Nita Lowey for joining for us. We're honored you're here. Thanks for coming. (Applause.)
Secretary Ann Veneman, the UNICEF Executive Director, is with us. It's great to see you, Ann. Thanks for being here. I want to thank Larry Small, the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institute. I want to thank Dr. Julian Raby, the Director of the Freer and Sackler Galleries of Art. I appreciate Herb London, the President, Ken Weinstein, the Executive Officer of the Hudson Institute. We thank you all for being here. (Applause.)
Next week, I'm going to head to the G8 summit in Scotland. Out there, I'll meet with leaders of the industrialized nations. As in earlier meetings, we will discuss the great political and economic progress being made in Africa, and the next steps we can take with African leaders to build on that progress. The whole world will benefit from prosperity and stability on the African continent. And the peoples of Africa deserve the peace and freedom and opportunity that are the natural rights of all mankind.
We seek progress in Africa and throughout the developing world because our interests are directly at stake. September the 11th, 2001, Americans found that instability and lawlessness in a distant country can bring danger to our own. In this new century, we are less threatened by fleets and armies than by small cells of men who operate in the shadows and exploit weakness and despair. The ultimate answer to those threats is to encourage prosperous, democratic and lawful societies that join us in overcoming the forces of terror -- allies that w
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