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Public Papers - 1990 - September

Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters Prior to Discussions With President Zhelyu Zhelev of Bulgaria


President Zhelev. Mr. President, I'm very grateful for the time you spare to receive us, considering your busy schedule. It's a great support for our young democracy indeed.

President Bush. We're wishing that young democracy all the best. The American people are very excited about the changes.

Q. Are you pleased with the way things are going at home in this democratic change?

President Zhelev. Generally, yes. Our country has embarked firmly upon the road of democracy. And for our nation, this is a symbolic visit because the greatest democracy in the world is extending a helpful hand to the youngest democracy in Europe.

President Bush. We're very anxious to see this democratic change solidified and continuing in a lot of countries. But we have great respect for what you're trying to do, a great respect for that.

Just wanted to have a chance to wish you well and to say in front of the press here in our country and around the world that the changes in Eastern Europe have really captured the imagination of the American people. Every place you go, people are talking about it. I've been meeting the last couple of days in our Midwest with ethnic Americans from different heritage groups, and the excitement is still very high, very high.

Q. Mr. President, would you convey some words for the Bulgarian television?

President Zhelev. The processes in Bulgaria are irreversible. Mr. President, this country's no longer a Communist, a totalitarian state. We have a multiparty system, for instance, independent trade unions, free press, independent radio and television, a democratically elected parliament, and a democratically elected President in my capacity.

President Bush. It is this kind of exciting change that has the full support of the American people. I hope you feel that in your visit now.

Q. Mr. President, some words for the Bulgarians?

President Bush. I just said that we support strongly the democratic change all across Eastern Europe. Thank you all very much.

Note: President Zhelev spoke at 10:06 a.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

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