Toespraak van premier Elio Di Rupo

Hieronder vindt u de volledige toespraak die premier Elio Di Rupo gaf tijdens het bezoek van de Amerikaanse president Obama aan de militaire begraafplaats in Waregem.

President Obama, Your Majesty, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are gathered today to remember. To remember the millions of soldiers and civilians who died during the First World War, in Belgium and in the rest of Europe. And here in Waregem, to especially remember the Americans who lost their lives in our cities and our countryside.

On behalf of Belgium, I wish to honour their memory, and thank them and their families for their terrible sacrifice. A sacrifice that will remain a part of our History and will always have a place in the hearts of the Belgian and American people. We will never forget.

Mister President, Your Majesty,

The ties between Belgium and the United States are very strong. I have said this before and I'm saying it again today, in the presence of President Obama. We, the Belgian and the American people, share and cherish the same values of freedom, democracy and progress.

We have fought long and hard to obtain them. And we must work hard every day to keep them alive. These values are our most precious gift to our young people and future generations.

Therefore we have to continue to draw lessons from the terrible war that started 100 years ago. And, above all, we have to prevent new conflicts. Those who ignore the past are taking the risk to re-live it. Each step to reconcile people is a step away from war. Each step to open up our hearts and minds is a step towards peace.

Mister President, Your Majesty, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The American sons who fell on our soil are our sons. I promise you, Mister President, that we will always keep their memory alive. At the same time, we will never forget our Second World War liberators. They as well were examples of courage.

We are determined to ensure the triumph of peace, democracy and human rights. We are determined to ensure the integrity of frontiers and the respect of international law.

Here next to these graves, we make a solemn commitment to continue our efforts to promote peace and solidarity amongst peoples.

Mister President, Your Majesty,

The guns fell silent a long time ago, as did the voices of the fallen soldiers. But their example will always continue to inspire us.

Thank you.