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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
December 10, 2003

President Meets with Iraqi National Symphony
Remarks by the President After Meeting with Iraqi National Symphony Members The Roosevelt Room

2:01 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Last night Laura and I had the honor of going to hear the Iraqi National Symphony play with the Washington Symphony at the Kennedy Center. It was an extraordinary event. And today I've had the honor of welcoming members of the symphony here at the White House. Maestro, you did a superb job. Thank you very much.

I'm also honored to be here with Rend al-Rahim, who is the Iraqi representative to the United States. Rend is an articulate defender of freedom and peace. I'm so honored you're here, Rend, and we look forward to working with you.

We've had a very positive discussion here about freedom and hopes and aspirations of young and old alike. And I am so impressed by the spirit of these musicians. I'm so honored you would come to our country.

It's very interesting that the Iraqi Symphony is made up of people who are Shia and Sunni and Armenian and Kurdish. They work for one thing, and that is a unified sound, a beautiful sound. And that's the country that is now emerging in Iraq, a country that will work together and recognize everybody's rights. We're making good progress in Iraq. There's more to do, obviously, but the fact that the Iraqi Symphony is here and entertaining Americans is a sign of that progress.

And we thank you all for coming. We wish you God speed.

END 2:03 P.M. EST

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