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Text of Remarks by Kevin Klose

Ladies and gentlemen, President Havel, Mrs. Clinton, Ambassador Walker, Ambassador Albright, Ambassador Zantovsky [Czech Ambassador to the United States], government officials, ministers, and distinguished guests.

On this Independence Day, 1996, the 220th celebration of the United States, we are also celebrating the second anniversary of the decision to move Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty to the former Federal Parliament Building here in Prague. We are deeply honored that Mrs. Clinton has chosen our headquarters from which to make an historic Independence Day address.

I am pleased to note that another greatly admired First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, broadcast a message of hope to the Soviet peoples from our New York bureau in January, 1958. And as Mrs. Roosevelt's address was carried to millions immediately, so Mrs. Clinton's address today will be carried eastward by our transmitters and satellite connections to our broadcast lands.

History has taught that democracy cannot live in an information vacuum. Indeed, a well-informed citizenry is essential for democracy and free-market economies to flourish. This powerful historic truth guides our radios each day. Our services in 23 languages provide accurate, objective news and information to millions of people across 11 time zones.

Citizens in newly emancipated lands can be freed from the past by the power of information itself to establish civil societies. The stakes are enormous. Civil societies that guard human freedoms across our broadcast region can guarantee a stable, peaceful future for all of Europe and the world. Our mission, to assist democratic change, to combat nationalism and racism, must not falter.

Thanks to the generosity and farsightedness of President Havel and the Czech government, matched by the wisdom and responsiveness of President Clinton and the United States government, we are here. We are proud to say to all, "Come to Prague."

Here at the radios you will find 350 Czechs and Americans, and men and women from more than 20 other countries, working in harmony and partnership to broadcast truthful information for the sake of our homelands and the futures of our children.

Thank you, one and all. Thank you, Mrs. Clinton, for joining us to celebrate our Independence Day.

Ladies and gentlemen, with great pleasure I introduce the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Madeleine Albright.