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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
February 21, 2008

Mrs. Bush's Remarks in a Youth Development Roundtable
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Monrovia, Liberia

      In Focus: Africa Trip 2008

10:51 A.M. (Local)

MRS. BUSH: Well, I'd just like to thank everyone who's joined us here today. I did come to the inauguration of your President, President Sirleaf. My daughter Barbara came with me to that inauguration, and I'm so happy to be back in Liberia now, and this time to be accompanied by President Bush.

Things look a lot better here since the last time I was here. You may not realize it if you're here every single day, but I can tell that Monrovia is being rebuilt, buildings are being reconstructed, and I think people seem to have, as we saw them on the roads as we came into this meeting, seem to be -- seem to have a lot of hope.

I want to encourage the people of Liberia to work together. You have a chance, after so many long years of war, to build your peace; to build a country that's strong and that's stable. And I urge parents especially to look at your children, to see what you can do for your children to help them build their lives. First, and most important, make sure your children go to school and stay in school.

And for all those adults who missed school because they grew up during the time, the long time of war, I urge you also to go back to school, to get skills, to don't deny yourself those important years that you missed because of war.

And now I'm very interested to hear from each of the people here. I'm interested to hear how people are overcoming the challenges that they face now during this time of reconstruction. And I also want to let you know, I come with the very best wishes of the American people. The American people are standing with you, and we want to do whatever we can to help you in Liberia rebuild your country for a time of peace and stability and hope. So thank you all.

* * * * *

MRS. BUSH: I wanted to tell everyone here how inspired I am with your stories, and how inspired I am with the way you're facing the challenges in your life, challenges that you might not have wanted but just have happened.

So I want you also to know that the people of the United States are inspired by the people of Liberia, and we are standing with you the whole time you work to build your country.

Thank you, Madam Minister. Thank you very much for your great words. And thanks to each one of you for what you're doing for your own lives, but while you're doing that for your own lives, you're building the lives of others in Liberia.

Thank you all and God bless you. (Applause.)

END 11:36 A.M. (Local)

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