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

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 13, 2006

President Discusses Central American Relief and Reconstruction Efforts
The Oval Office

1:34 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: I want to thank Secretary Rice and Ambassador Hughes for joining three of our nation's most distinguished business leaders here at the White House to discuss a very important project, and that's raising money for those affected by the storms and natural disaster in Guatemala and Honduras.

President George W. Bush meets with business leaders to discuss Central American Relief and Reconstruction Efforts in the Oval Office Friday, Jan. 13, 2006. From left, they are: Robert Lane of Deer & Co., Maria Elena Lagomasino of Asset Management Advisors, LLC., and Steve Reinmund of PepsiCo. Under Secretary of State Karen Hughes is pictured at the far left.  White House photo by Paul Morse Ours is a nation that when we see human suffering, we respond, and we responded at the governmental level because we had our military help provide infrastructure and logistics and get supplies to people who were hurting. We helped through USAID. And now it's time for the private sector in our country to step up and support the efforts of those Guatemalans struggling to get their lives back together and those in Honduras doing the same thing.

The fund that's going to be raised is made up of private donations. People can find out more about it on what's called -- a website called I think the site went up today, if I'm not mistaken. It's a place for people to come and access and to find out how they can join other Americans as to how to contribute. The money will go for things such as education of displaced families or infrastructure rebuilding, with a particular emphasis on reforestation or on micro loans to help the economy get back on its feet in these countries.

So I want to thank you all very much for coming. I appreciate your interest. Thank you for traveling down to the region to take an assessment of the needs. And most importantly, thanks for coming back and calling our citizens to action. Appreciate it.

END 1:36 P.M. EST

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