Croatia Welcomes Democracy President George W. Bush

Mr. President, when I recall your historic speech in Warsaw in 2001, which opened a window of freedom for many countries and peoples, when I see the achievements, when I see how much you still invest in the achievement of lasting peace and stability in southeast Europe, I’m filled with confidence.”

Prime Minister Sanader
Croatian Capital of Zagreb
April 5, 2008

In the 1990s, Washington also disapproved of Croatian nationalism. This week Croatia was invited to join NATO.

U.S. President George W. Bush speaks at St. Marko’s square during his visit to Zagreb April 5, 2008. (REUTERS/Nikola Solic)

President Bush shared these words on liberty and freedom with the people of Croatia today from St. Marko’s Square:

The people of this region know what the gift of liberty means. You know the death and destruction that can be caused by the followers of radical ideologies. You know that, in a long run, the only way to defeat a hateful ideology is to promote the hopeful alternative of human freedom. And that is what our nations are doing today in the Middle East. The lack of freedom and opportunity in that region has given aid and comfort to the lies and ambitions of violent extremists. Resentments that began on the streets of the Middle East have resulted in the killing innocent people across the world. A great danger clouds the future of all free men and women, and this danger sits at the doorstep of Europe.

Together the people of this region are helping to confront this danger. Today soldiers from Croatia, Albania, and Macedonia are serving bravely in Afghanistan — helping the Afghan people defeat the terrorists and secure their future of liberty. Forces from Albania and Macedonia are serving in Iraq — where they’re helping the Iraqi people build a society that rejects terror and lives in freedom. It’s only a matter of time before freedom takes root across that troubled region. And when it does, millions will remember the people of your nation stood with them in their hour of need. (Applause.)

Democracy President George W. Bush was among friends in Croatia today.

U.S. President George Bush, front centre, greets the crowd after delivering a speech to the public in St. Mark’s square in Zagreb, Croatia Saturday, April 5, 2008. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Croatian Prime Minister Sanader gave President Bush and thousands of Croatians extended a warm welcome to President Bush today in the capital of Croatia:

These are special days for Croatia. It is my pleasure to be able, in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, to greet the President of the United States, George Bush, the leader of the country which has so strongly contributed to the realization of the dream of peaceful, democratic and free world.

Mr. President, I’m addressing you in Croatian language, the language of our ancestors, many of whom found refuge and a way out of difficulties and injustice from this region in a then distant promised land in America. Their hands, also together with others, built and helped the realization of the American Dream.

When I look back today on Croatian and our dream on the life in a free, democratic country, on the life in ordered and civilized country, of equal citizens, of equal opportunities, then I see how it is precisely America, together with others, that helped for us to realize our dream, as well.

If I tell you that you are standing before the nation in which many grew up and matured with the names of the Voice of America, in those difficult, hostile times of communist dictatorship, I know you will know what I’m talking about. Our recent history taught us that we must believe in ourselves, rely on our forces. But we also learned that support from a friend is also important, especially when it comes at crucial moments. This is why, Mr. President, I want to thank you for the support and friendship.

Dear friends, with the invitation of our country to join NATO, and with the new energy in our negotiations to accede EU, this visit by American President means that the aspirations of many Croatian generations have been fulfilled.

Mr. President, when I recall your historic speech in Warsaw in 2001, which opened a window of freedom for many countries and peoples, when I see the achievements, when I see how much you still invest in the achievement of lasting peace and stability in southeast Europe, I’m filled with confidence. And I will personally continue to offer my contribution to high common goals of Croatia, U.S.A., Europe and all our most important partners.


President George W. Bush greets Croatian soldiers that served in the NATO mission in Afghanistan, at Zagreb airport, Croatia, Saturday, April 5, 2008, before his departure. President Bush was on a two-day visit to Croatia. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic, Pool)

NATO leaders, at their summit in Bucharest, have pledged to dispatch more than 1,800 additional troops for the allied force in Afghanistan –VOA.

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