Thursday, April 08, 2010

Prague Castle: President Obama Attends Luncheon To Celebrate START Treaty Signing

"A future defined by our common hopes"
This afternoon in Prague, President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev were guests of honor at a luncheon hosted by Czech President Vaclav Klaus, following the START signing ceremony. The three presidents toasted the new accord, and made remarks about the morning's events.

President Obama called the START treaty "one brick on that path towards a brighter future for all mankind," as he held a glass of champagne aloft, and praised Medvedev for his "clarity" in helping design the history making nuclear arms agreement. (Above: Medvedev, left, and Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus, toast with President Obama)

The luncheon was held in the ballroom of Prague Castle, and began at 1:45 PM local time. White-gloved waiters roamed among the 100 guests, according to the pool report. Red, white and blue floral centerpieces decorated the tables.

“Very nice, very nice,” President Obama said, as he sat down at the head table, which had place settings for sixteen.

During his toast, President Obama thanked the teams that had negotiated the treaty for their "meticulousness" and "diligence," and noted Medvedev in particular.

"To President Medvedev, Dmitry, we have learned to work together, and I'm extraordinarily grateful for your leadership and your clarity," President Obama said.

"What I'd like to do is to propose a toast...to the vision of a future in which we are defined not just by our differences but increasingly defined by our common aims, our common goals, and our common hopes for our children and our grandchildren."

President Klaus toasted first, but pool did not have a translation of his remarks. He clinked glasses with the President, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Medvedev, and then Medvedev got up and repeated the performance. President Obama went last. No news on the menu, as pool was rushed out of the room.

In addition to Clinton, President Obama was accompanied on the trip to the Czech Republic by General Jim Jones, NSC chief of staff Denis McDonough, Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett, and Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. Speechwriter Ben Rhodes and assistant press secretary Bill Burton were also on the trip.

*The full transcript of the President's toast remarks is here. Download the START Treaty here [PDF]. Top photo by Pete Souza/White House; others by Getty.