State Luncheon - Guatemala
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State Luncheon Hosted by His Excellency, Álvaro Colom Caballeros, President of the Republic of Guatemala, and Sandra Torres de Colom
Guatemala, Thursday, December 10, 2009
My husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, our delegation and I would like to sincerely thank you for hosting this luncheon on the occasion of Canada’s first State visit to Guatemala.
What a marvellous opportunity to celebrate the friendship and solidarity between our peoples!
Sadly, Guatemala went through decades of civil war that decimated the country and its institutions, but throughout that difficult time, Canada never stopped supporting the young people, women and men of this country and opened its doors to a number of Guatemalans who found it to be a safe haven.
We now have a dynamic Guatemalan community that is helping to build today’s Canada.
We are proud to have contributed to the signing of peace accords and today, as in the past, we stand beside you to help you turn the page and to work on developing Guatemala.
We must, as you said, Excellency, privilege the disadvantaged, something you yourself called “the privilege of the poor, those with no opportunities.”
Mr. President, in our meeting this morning, you said something that I’m sure will stay with me for a long time: “We are emerging from times of change to enter times of change.”
Excellency, like you, Canada believes that Guatemalan society has the ability to meet these challenges. And we will build on our dynamic relationship with Guatemala to support this willingness to change.
One of the most promising signs of this willingness is the establishment, under the aegis of the United Nations, of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala.
We wholeheartedly support the work being done by this Commission, which is the most important—if not vital—instrument of bringing security and stability in Guatemala and the region.
You have our support in this essential work because Canada knows how urgently we all need to now join forces.
There can be no solution without a joint strategy.
It is vital that we work together for the well-being of our respective peoples.
Canada is committed to supporting security, equality, sustainable human development, democratic values and economic prosperity with all its partners and friends in the Americas.
And it is in the name of this commitment and because of the close co-operation that unites our two countries that we have come here to meet the dynamic people of Guatemalan society.
I therefore raise my glass to the friendship between our peoples, to their well-being, and to the hope represented by the efforts you are making to establish peace, justice and stability.
Thank you very much.