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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 27, 2006
President Bush Hosts Presidents of Pakistan and Afghanistan at the White House
7:35 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Tonight it's my honor to host a dinner with President Musharraf of Pakistan and President Karzai of Afghanistan. These two men are personal friends of mine; they are strong leaders who have a understanding of the world in which we live; they understand that the forces of moderation are being challenged by extremists and radicals. And we're working closely together to help improve the lives of the people in Afghanistan and the people in Pakistan.
President Musharraf kindly greeted me to Pakistan. I had the great privilege of meeting many in his government. I met people in the civil society there. I met those who were helping the Pakistan citizens who were -- whose lives were turned upside down by the devastating earthquake. I saw the compassion of this government, and I was very proud that the American people were helping them recover.
I also had the opportunity to visit President Karzai. He's leading a young democracy. It's a democracy that was formed as a result of the Afghan people voting, having shed itself, with American help, from the Taliban regime.
We've got a lot of challenges facing us. All of us must protect our countries, but at the same time, we all must work to make the world a more hopeful place. And so today's dinner is a chance for us to strategize together, to talk about the need to cooperate, to make sure that people have got a hopeful future. It's very important for the people in Pakistan and Afghanistan to understand that America respects religion, and we respect the right for people to worship the way they see fit. We welcome Muslim leaders here in the White House. I look forward to having dinner with friends of mine who don't happen to share the same faith I do, but nevertheless share the same outlook for a hopeful world.
As we work for a more hopeful world, we will continue to make sure that extremists, such as Osama bin Laden, that wants to hurt my friend here, as well as upset the democracy in Afghanistan, is brought to justice. The main thing I was looking forward to talking about is how the United States government and the people of the United States can help these two countries provide a foundation for hope. And so I want to thank you for coming. We're proud to have you here, Mr. President.
PRESIDENT MUSHARAFF: My pleasure.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Proud to have you here, Mr. President. Let's go eat dinner. Thank you, sir.
PRESIDENT MUSHARAFF: Thank you very much.
PRESIDENT KARZAI: Thanks very much.
END 7:38 P.M. EDT