From: Eilperin, Juliet [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, July 27, 2015 09:15 PM
To: Velz, Peter T. EOP
Subject: Travel pool reports #13: Toasts
At 8:01 pm the pool was ushered into the large hall where the state dinner was taking place. There were 33 tables, according to the floor plan, and they each seated 10 people. The décor included shades of cream, white and gold, and each table had a centerpiece of different shades of roses.
As always, please check quotes against the transcript.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn spoke first.
“We welcome you and all the members of the delegation to Ethiopia with open arms,” he said, prompting applause.
Hailemariam spoke of the long diplomatic relationship the two countries have shared, which dates to “the beginning of the last century,” in 1903.
Since then, he said, the United States has served “as an inspiration” for ideals such as “democracy and good governance.”
He spoke of Americans who had supported Ethiopians over the years, including John Robinson, an African American aviator who served in the Imperial Ethiopian Air Force. Hailemariam said Robinson “came to Ethiopia in 1935 to help us in our struggle against fascism.”
He also mentioned the late Rep. Mickey Leland (D-Tex.), who died in a plane crash in Ethiopia in 1989.
Hailemariam thanked the lawmakers in attendance for their passage of the trade bill AGOA. “You showed a very big example of the understanding the people of America have for the problems of Africa.”
He said the visit “introduced a new level of commitment into our relationship with the United States” and said Ethiopia was “a trusted friend” of America.
In his toast, Potus complimented Ethiopia and referenced the visit with Lucy and the other skeletons. "We're reminded that Ethiopians, Americans, all people in the world are part of the same human family," he said.
He also noted that he had hosted Ethiopian journalists at the White House and thanked the prime minister for his comments about journalism at the news conference today.
He noted that the winner of the Boston Marathon after the bombing was an Ethiopian who gave his medal back in honor of the victims. This year, Potus said, "he once again crossed the finish line first but even faster."
He ended by offering a toast that included, "To our own human family."
At 8:19 pm EAT, the pool was escorted out.
Thanks to fellow pooler Peter Baker for transcription.
White House Bureau Chief