English Pages, 3. 10. 2006
Your Excellency Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great honour and a pleasure for me and for all of us to be in Singapore, in this very unique place. I would like to use this opportunity to thank you for the invitation to visit your country and for the very friendly reception extended here to me and my delegation.
Despite the thousands of kilometres which exist between the Czech Republic and Singapore, we may say that the quality of our mutual relations as well as the intensity of the visits by the heads of states and other top politicians are relatively very high.
I myself am lucky to be coming to your country already for the third time within the last ten years. I came here first in 1996 as Prime Minister, then in 2001 as Speaker of the Parliament and now as President of the Czech Republic. Last year we had the pleasure to welcome President Nathan in Prague and I still remember the very interesting talk we had there. The recent visit of your long standing Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew at the occasion of an international conference in Prague was another important event. The same is true about the official visit of your then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong to the Czech Republic in 2001. These visits of the top representatives as well as the contacts on the level of parliaments, government institutions and businesses demonstrate that both countries are sincerely interested in the development of relations on all levels.
In my country, Singapore is seen and appreciated as an example of a very dynamic and successful country, as a country with very high level of economic freedom, as an example of successful reforms that create environment favourable to business, as a state that sets clear rules and does not tolerate corruption. All this success has been achieved in a truly multiethnic and multicultural society. We know that you have managed to avoid the problems that nowadays exist in many countries in the world. Located in the rapidly growing but often politically unstable region of Southeast Asia, your country – with its social stability and ethnic and religious tolerance – is an example for many neighbouring countries to follow.
For Czech businesses Singapore represents a global centre of finance, trade and transport and the gate to Southeast Asian and Pacific region markets. My delegation is accompanied by important representatives of Czech business and I am confident they will succeed – together with their Singapore colleagues – in finding new opportunities for the development of mutually advantageous economic relations.
Dear Mr. President, Czech Republic has also become a successful, politically and economically stable country with – currently – one of the highest growth rates in Europe. It is a member state of the European Union, it is a country with great cultural and natural wealth, it is a destination visited by millions of tourists from all over the world. It has also become a very attractive location for investors from all over the world and in this respect I should emphasize the growing role of investments from Far East countries – Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, and others. I believe that also the Singapore companies will appreciate business environment in the Czech Republic, its skilled labour as well as its geographic location in the very heart of Europe.
Mr. President, I am convinced my visit to your country will be an impulse for even faster development of our economic relations and for cooperation in all sectors. Allow me to raise the glass to the Czech-Singapore friendship, to the good future of our relations, to the happy future of the citizens of your country, to your health and to the health of your family.
Singapore, Presidential Palace, October 3, 2006
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