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Remarks With Panamanian President Martin Torrijos

Remarks With Panamanian President Martin Torrijos

Secretary Condoleezza Rice

Panama City, Panama

December 10, 2008

PRESIDENT TORRIJOS: (Via interpreter.) Madame Secretary of State, today has been a great day, a day where we have addressed bilateral issues, issues related to free trade, which is important in order to create jobs, which in turn is also important in order to create a better quality of life for our people. So thank you very much for your visit. I would also like to take this opportunity to say farewell on this, your last visit to Panama. And thank you for the excellent work that we have done together.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you very much for welcoming me here on what is, I believe, to be my last trip to the region. We have had a very good bilateral relationship. You and President Bush have developed an excellent working relationship and an excellent personal relationship.

Thank you for hosting the Pathways for Prosperity ministerial. It was a very successful opportunity to talk about how trade and investment and open markets come together in democratic countries to produce results for the people: better jobs, better health, better education, and indeed social justice.

And Mr. President, I want to thank you and congratulate you too on the great progress that Panama has made during your presidency. We can see the extraordinary growth here in Panama City. We see the project that will expand the canal. And I also want to congratulate you on the improvement in social indicators on poverty. I know that this is something that was dear to your heart when you became President, and it is very good that you have delivered so much for the Panamanian people. And again, Panama is an example of what can happen when trade and investment and policies for good governance come together to bring social progress for the people.

And so thank you for having me here and I look forward to returning to Panama as a private citizen to enjoy this beautiful country.

ENDS

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