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President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
May 23, 2005
Mrs. Bush's Interview in Egypt by CBS, "The Early Show"
Giza Plateau, Egypt
1:14 P.M. (Local)
Q Good morning.
MRS. BUSH: Good morning, Harry.
Q First, let's talk about these visits that you made over the weekend, first to the Western Wall, and also to the Dome of the Rock, two of the holiest places --
MRS. BUSH: That's right.
Q -- in both the Jewish and Muslim religions. Did you ever feel you were in any danger there?
MRS. BUSH: No, I did not at all. And I think maybe the reports that you all have seen have been slightly exaggerated. The crowds were mainly photographers, as you might guess, the press. And I never felt at all unsafe, and no one in my party felt unsafe at all.
Q Okay, that's good to note. On the other hand, it seems to me you must have felt some of the depth of the passions, though, of the people who live in the respective areas that you visited.
MRS. BUSH: Well, these are some of the most holy places, like you just said. And, of course, they're where -- in Jerusalem where there is a longtime desire for some sort of settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis, emotions always run high. These are very, very emotional places. They're sacred places to religions, including this morning when I went to the church at Emmaus, where Jesus revealed himself to the two disciples. But this morning at the place where I went, which is actually an Arab town, in Abu Gosh, where this beautiful 12th century church is still -- there and like in very, very many parts of Israel, Jews and Muslims and Christians live in peace with each other.
And when I met with Israeli women yesterday and Palestinian women yesterday, that's what they want. And they also want the United States to be involved. They think it's important for the United States to be a part of the peace process as they come to the table with each other. And it looks like we're closer than we've been in a long time to the prospect of a peace and a free Palestinian state side-by-side with a safe and secure Israel. And that's very, very encouraging.
Q Let me ask you a question. The President, recently back from his trip to Russia and the former Soviet bloc nations -- we find out now for a fact that the grenade that was found in Tbilisi was armed. It was not a dud. When you hear about that, when you understood the severity and just how close the President may have come to a real, honest-to-goodness assassination attempt, what goes through you?
MRS. BUSH: Well, of course, when we heard about it, we were already almost home to the United States. And thank God nothing did happen and that grenade did not go off, because, of course, many, many other people would have been harmed if it had.
We still remember that day in Georgia with very, very great feelings of friendship for the Georgian people. The square was filled with over 100,000 people. The night before we'd had a wonderful, friendly dinner with President Saakashvili and his wife. And Georgia is another country that is an example to all of us trying to build a democracy. They had the Rose Revolution, and now they're working on their own country. And thank God the grenade did not go off.
Q Closing thought: You were in Jordan; you stood on Mount Nebo. This is the place where Jews and Christians understand that Moses stood and was --
MRS. BUSH: That's right.
Q -- had the opportunity to view the Promised Land. What was that experience like?
MRS. BUSH: Well, that was a wonderful experience to be on Mount Nebo. It's so magnificent. You can see the Dead Sea. And on a very clear day, you can see all the way to Jericho from there. But each of these spots have been very, very moving to me -- to go to the Western Wall, to leave my prayer at the Western Wall, to go to the Dome of the Rock, to see these sites that are so important to three great religions that all came from the Holy Land. And what it reminds all of us, and certainly reminds me, is how important this area is for the world.
Q Mrs. Bush, we thank you so much for your time this morning. We do appreciate it very, very much.
MRS. BUSH: Thank you, Harry.
END 1:22 P.M. (Local)