President Bush. Mr. President and members of the Honduran delegation, let me again thank you for coming to the White House, all of you. We're very pleased and honored that you're here, and it's been a great and personal pleasure to meet President Callejas in his first official visit to Washington. We met before, but this was his first official visit since taking over as President.
The President is a long-time friend of the United States, dating back to his university days at Mississippi State University. And Vice President Quayle carried our warmest regards in January when he attended the President's historic inauguration, the first peaceful transfer of power to an opposition party in nearly 60 years and, indeed, an inspiring example of the democratic promise that today is spreading throughout the Americas.
I remember with great fondness the natural beauty of Honduras and the history of the Honduran people when I visited Tegucigalpa some years ago for the inauguration of your distinguished predecessor.
President Callejas and I shared very friendly and useful talks today on several subjects. We both expressed our appreciation for the stable and constructive relations shared by our two nations. The U.S. applauds Honduras' productive role in achieving a multilateral agreement on the peaceful demobilization and repatriation of the Nicaraguan resistance in conditions of safety for all concerned. We support this process and will work to ensure humanitarian assistance to those in need in both Nicaragua and Honduras as they return to their homes, their families, and their jobs, and play a vital role in helping Nicaragua establish lasting democratic institutions.
The President and I explored our mutual goals for Central America and also for our own bilateral relationship. We agreed on the importance of continuing our close cooperation in the struggle against the scourge of cocaine in our hemisphere. The U.S. remains firmly committed to helping economic development in Honduras. And we fully support President Callejas' bold economic reforms, and we are working together to help arrange new financing of Honduras' international obligations.
Mr. President, in your own Inaugural Address, you proclaimed that burning in the heart of the peoples of Central America is a flame of hope and faith in the democratic path. And, Mr. President, the people of the United States share your hope, and we share your faith. It is well-known that in Spanish the word ``Honduras'' means great depths. But we believe that the democratic path of which you spoke in January will lead to great heights for Honduras and for all of Central America.
Thank you for coming. We wish you Godspeed and success in your continuing talks here over the next 2 days. Thank you, sir.
President Callejas. Thank you, Mr. President. Ten years ago I came to the White House in company of a military President of Honduras. It was the beginning of a very complicated decade for Central America. Now we perceive new opportunities. We have concluded in the region, by the 25th of April, the election of democratic Presidents. And we hope that this next decade will be, in its priority, oriented to economic development and welfare.
Today, with President Bush, we have had a very cordial and fruitful meeting. We had the opportunity to discuss frankly and extensively bilateral and regional issues. I thank President Bush for the support of his administration for the efforts the Honduran people are doing in order to advance a program of economic reform. It is important that we quite well understand that there's no possibility to have democracy without economic development. And on that means the President assured us of the continued support of the United States for Honduras to recuperate its economic difficulties. I was very encouraged by the appreciation President Bush has demonstrated for the measures that we have taken.
We also discussed the regional situation. We have entered a new era in Central America. We have built upon democracy in the past decade, and now we must build an economic recovery. We have high hopes and expectations on the new prospectus of the region. With the assumption of power of Mrs. Chamorro in Nicaragua, a new page has been turned in Central America. And we all will support the efforts that the region demands and needs. This success can only be achieved by continued support of friendly countries like the United States. And in that regard, I hope that the United States will continue to be close to the region in its new era.
I thank you, Mr. President, for your support and for your commitment to continue to give Honduras a helping hand in its effort to create a better place to live for its people. Thank you very much, Mr. President.
Note: President Bush spoke at 1:11 p.m. at the South Portico of the White House. Prior to their remarks, the two Presidents met privately in the Oval Office and with U.S. and Honduran officials in the Cabinet Room, and then attended a luncheon in the Old Family Dining Room.