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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Bush Delivers Speech From Romania

Aired November 23, 2002 - 09:25   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CATHERINE CALLAWAY, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We are awaiting President Bush giving his speech in Romania. Take a look at this. Incredible scene. We are waiting for President Bush to speak. Right now we're listening to the president of Romania, President Iliescu. I'm sorry, I have someone talking in my ear. We're waiting on translations before we can bring you President Iliescu. But we are -- When President Bush begins speaking, we'll bring that to you live.
KRIS OSBORN, CNN ANCHOR: And the president comes to Romania after being in Lithuania, one of the additional former Eastern Bloc countries, Lithuania, of course, in the Baltic region. There was extensive discussion there in Lithuania about their troop deployments and the amount of forces they might have, and that could have created some kind of anxiety for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said he was slightly concerned about expanded NATO forces, but then was not that concerned about it after they talked about it at greater length.

Let's listen in.

PRESIDENT ILIESCU, ROMANIA: Romania, United States.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Right, yes.

ILIESCU (through interpreter): I'm glad we can have you with us here in downtown Bucharest, the capital city of Romania. Here in Revolution Square, a location symbolic to tragic, and at the same time heroic moments in December 1989, when through its determination and blood sacrifice, the Romanian nation ended communist totalitarianism and opened the way towards freedom, democracy, and profound transformations in the life of our society, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

I am also glad that your visit to Romania occurs right after the Prague summit, which decided on NATO's enlargement and to invite Romania alongside other six countries in Central Europe to join the North Atlantic Alliance. This was a materialization of the idea you stated as early as last summer in Warsaw on the need for a robust NATO enlargement from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

We wish to thank the United States of America for its constant support for Romania. Throughout the period that preceded this, in the framework for the partnership (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in the context of this strategic partnership between our countries.

Romania's accession to NATO is a recognition of both the Romanian nation's endeavors on the way to democratic reforms, and of its role as a factor of stability in this area of Central Europe. For Romania, this is a historic moment that marks the definitive break from its past and at the same time a new beginning.

We know we have traveled only part of the road that takes us to complete conjoining with the European and Euroatlantic institutions. We are, however, determined to persevere on this road, because it meets the fundamental interests of Romania and the Romanian nation.

We want to make the Romanian society compatible with Western standards. We want to raise the living standards and increase the prosperity of all Romanian citizens. We are working to increase efficiency and competitiveness in the national economy.

We have started a merciless war on corruption and bureaucracy, which hurt our country so much and erode confidence in democracy. We're acting to increase the state's administrative capacity and to cultivate moral integrity among its public servants, an awareness of the duty to its citizens, a spirit of solidarity with fellow citizens.

We wish to consolidate our position as a trustworthy partner, as a provider of security and stability in our geographical area, including through participation in peacekeeping missions. This is the time to voice our recognition and gratitude to the Romanian troops that demonstrated an outstanding sense of duty in performing their missions in Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania, and Afghanistan.

We're all now looking at new threats. International terrorism requires common action, solidarity between all states, the entire democratic world. After September 11, Romania acted promptly and responsibly alongside the United States of America, alongside the international community, the international antiterrorist alliance, to combat terrorist networks and the threat of weapons of mass destruction.

We have a duty to the coming generations to build a peaceful and prosperous world, tolerant and open to dialogue between cultures and civilizations.

President Bush, as you said more than once, democracy and freedom are crucial values. The future is inconceivable in a world dominated by tyrannies. I sincerely believe the young who are present here in this square will never know the horrors of war and the oppression of totalitarianism.

We need each other. The Romanians have wanted to be America's partners. Today a dream and an ideal come through for them, thanks to you too, Mr. President Bush.

I invite you now to address those present here and the entire Romanian nation that has always believed in its European values and destiny and which sees the United States that you represent here today as a model of democracy, the model of a responsible and -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

(speaks in Romanian)

BUSH: Salut!

Thank you all. Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for being out here in the rain. Thank you for such a warm welcome. Laura and I are honored to be in this great country.

As we started speaking, a rainbow appeared. God is smiling on us today. I'm proud to stand in this great square and to bring the good wishes of the American people.

Today we reaffirm the friendship between your country and mine. I'm honored to carry a message to the people of Romania. We proudly invite you to join NATO, the great alliance of freedom.

All around us are reminders of Romania's history and the culture we share. Close by is a church, three centuries old, a symbol of the faith that overcomes all oppression. In this square we see monuments to Roman -- Romanian patriots who lost their lives and liberty for the liberty of your nation.

And here in December of 1989 you broke the silence of your captivity. From that balcony, the dictator heard your voices and faltered and fled. Two generations of bitter tyranny ended, and all the world witnessed the courage of Romania, the courage that sets you free.

Since those days of liberation, Romania has made an historic journey. Instead of hatred, you have chosen tolerance. Instead of destructive rivalry with your neighbors, you have chosen reconciliation. Instead of state control, you have chosen free markets and rule of law. And instead of dictatorship, you have built a proud and working democracy.

The path of freedom you have chosen is not easy, but it's the only path worth taking. I know that your hardship did not end with your oppression. America respects your labor. Your patience, your daily determination to find a better life, your effort has been recognized by an offer to NATO membership. We welcome Romania into NATO.

NATO's invitation to join is also a vote of confidence that you will continue the hard work of political, economic, and military reform. And as you do, you will have partners in all the nations of NATO.

The promises of our alliance are sacred, and we will keep our pledges to all the nations that join us. Should any danger threaten Romania, should any nation threaten Romania, the United States of America and NATO will be by your side.

As a NATO ally, you can have this confidence no one will be able to take away the freedom of your country.

NATO membership will make Romania more secure, and Romania will add to the strength of the NATO alliance as we face unprecedented new dangers. Already our troops are serving side by side in Afghanistan. Already Romania has joined the coalition -- global coalition against terror, and we thank you very much.

The world has suffered enough from fanatics who seek to impose their will through fear and murder. The NATO alliance and the civilized world are confronting the new enemies of freedom, and we will prevail.

Your country also brings moral clarity to our NATO alliance. You value freedom because you have lived without it. You know the difference between good and evil because you have seen evil's face. The people of Romania understand that aggressive dictators cannot be appeased or ignored. They must always be opposed.

An aggressive dictator new rules in Iraq. By his search for terrible weapons, by his ties to terror groups, by his development of prohibited ballistic missiles, the dictator of Iraq threatens the security of every free nation, including the free nations of Europe.

The United Nations Security Council and now NATO have spoken with one voice. The Iraqi regime will completely disarm itself of weapons of mass murder, or we, the United States, will lead a coalition of willing nations and disarm that regime in the name of peace.

Every nation must confront danger. Every free nation has a responsibility to play its full and responsible role. And together, Mr. President, we will preserve our freedoms and we will work together to keep the peace.

In the peaceful future we're building, Romania will strengthen our alliance in another way, as a bridge to a new Russia. For centuries, Romania's geography was a source of danger. Now you can help our alliance to extend the hand of cooperation across the Black Sea.

Russia has nothing to fear from the growth of NATO, because Russia needs peaceful, stable neighbors like Romania. As I told President Putin yesterday, a Russia that is a fully part of Europe needs no buffer zone separating it from Europe. America and Romania are friends to the Russian people, and so is the NATO alliance.

Mr. President, citizens of Romania, Laura and my visit to your beautiful country has been short, but the friendship and soon the alliance between our countries will endure.

On his historic square, among the monuments to Romania's greatness, there's also a building left in ruins, the former offices of the secret police. It is a fitting reminder of all the cruelties done there and the justice that rose up against oppression. That grim monument also recalls the many brave Romanians who did not live to see this day. Our prayers are for them and their families.

Yet today, their hopes are being fulfilled. The nation they love is rising. Romania has won its freedom. Romania is resolute in difficulty and moving toward greater prosperity. And Romania is finding its place in the greatest -- history's greatest alliance for freedom. I have come to tell you that the world and my country knows the character of the people of this great country. We respect your country. We love the fact that you love freedom. May God bless you and your families. May God bless Romania. And may God bless America.

Thank you all.

CALLAWAY: "Should any nation threaten Romania, America will be by your side." President Bush's message to the thousands of Romanians that gathered to hear him speak there in Revolution Plaza in Bucharest despite a heavy rain that fell, steady rain.

President Bush wrapping up now his welcome tour of countries soon to join NATO. He's joined by Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell. President Bush left Lithuania earlier today on his way to Romania. He will be leaving Bucharest in just a couple of hours on his way back to the U.S.

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