The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 10, 2005

President and Saakashvili Participate in Roundtable with Society Leaders
Parliament Building
Tbilisi, Georgia

10:50 A.M. (Local)

PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you for having me. I'm anxious to hear from you. There is -- one of the great things about, and one of the most important things about democracy is to honor minority rights, is to recognize the rights of minorities. In my own country, we have struggled with this issue throughout our history, and yet, we're constantly reminding ourselves of the need to respect minorities.

And I want to thank you for giving me the chance to come and visit with you. You've got a great country. It's a hopeful example, and to the extent that -- as you move forward, I know you will honor your country, but at the same time, the heritage of those who live in the country.

So thank you for giving me a chance to come by and visit with you. I look forward to hearing from you. I'm honored to be here. It's an exciting moment for me and my wife, Laura, to be in this -- in this beautiful country. Thank you.

PRESIDENT SAAKASHVILI: Well, I'll just say maybe one or two words. You know, we are -- I've always been impressed and excited to see how people of all different ethnic origins -- Hispanics and Russians and all the others, speaking to American system of democracy and rule of law, and how all of them are proud to be Americans by also preserving their identity.

And we strongly believe that Georgia is not weak because it's diverse. On the contrary; our diversities are our strength. So this is our firm belief. You see all different people here, Mr. President. In fact, you saw yesterday comprised elements of all different ethnic groups. You went to the area where all the different ethnic groups have lived for generations and for thousands of years.

And again, thank you very much for coming. And thank you for sharing this conversation with all of us.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Okay, thanks.

END 10:52 A.M. (Local)

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