June 5th, 2007 10:54 EST
Condoleezza Rice's Remarks With Panamanian President Martin Torrijos
SECRETARY RICE: (In progress) Mr. President, for welcoming me here and I want very much to thank you and Foreign Minister Lewis and the people of Panama for giving the people of the hemisphere here through the Organization of American States a chance to both discuss and to explore our common aspirations for a democratic and prosperous hemisphere.
The United States and Panama enjoy an excellent bilateral relationship. Perhaps it is exemplified best by the fact that we continue to improve our relations and we do look forward to Congress's ratification of the free trade agreement which would put our economic relations on an even more sound footing.
And to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the return of the Panama Canal and its administration to Panama, I was struck today as I sat at lunch at the Canal, first and foremost of how friendly states can make potential sources of conflict a source of cooperation. I think that the Panama Canal Treaty has been a great success for world commerce, for commerce in the region, but also for the bilateral relationship between the United States and Panama.
And I want to thank you on behalf of the United States, on behalf of the region, on behalf of world commerce, Mr. President, for the excellent administration of the Canal by Panama and by the Panama Canal Administration. And we look forward to a relationship on a widened Panama Canal that will, as you've said, make it even more competitive. That's a very good story. We have a lot of celebrate. But I'm especially, tonight, looking forward to celebrating the really excellent relationship between the governments of Panama and the United States, but more importantly between the people of Panama and the United States.
Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Before Her Meeting With Panamanian President Martin Torrijos
Panama City, Panama
June 4, 2007