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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 19, 2005

President Welcomes Prime Minister of Thailand to the White House
The Oval Office

President's Remarks

2:52 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT BUSH: It's been my honor to welcome the Prime Minister of Thailand back to the -- to Washington. Thank you for coming, Mr. Prime Minister. Laura and I were just talking the other evening about what a wonderful visit we had to your country when you hosted APEC. It's reminded me -- a thing about that visit reminded me of our close friendship. The Prime Minister is a person who believes in markets and free enterprise and freedom. And I'm really, really pleased he's here.

We had a -- we talked about a lot of subjects. One subject that I'm particularly interested in is avian flu, and the need for our countries to work together. Thailand is a leader in putting systems in place that will track the virus as it attacks different birds and watch it very carefully to make sure that there's no bird-to-human transmission in his country. He's willing to work in the neighborhood, for which I'm grateful. All of us need to be mindful of this potentially devastating disease. And we've got a good friend and a very thoughtful leader when it comes to that subject.

We talked about North Korea, we talked about the neighborhood, we talked about our economies. We would like to get a free trade agreement concluded here as quickly as possible, and the Prime Minister made that very clear to me.

All in all, it was a very good visit, covering a lot of subjects, and I'm not surprised, because I'm visiting with a good friend. So, welcome, Mr. Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER THAKSIN: Thank you, Mr. President. It's my pleasure to visit Washington, D.C. again. It's my third time to come to -- and this trip I have been -- discussed with the President about the bilateral and also the regional issues, and Asia, as well. And we had a very good visit.

I committed to President Bush that we are pressing ahead with the FTA, and also we will work closely with U.S. by drafting the plan of action in the cooperation between our two countries, and also with the third country, as well, with the two countries we would like to work together with, in helping or in working with other countries.

I also want to welcome the President to meet with the ASEAN seven during APEC meeting in November in Korea.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Finally, I do want to thank the Prime Minister and His Majesty for sending relief supplies to our folks that have been affected by Hurricane Katrina. This good country has just come through a tsunami, and they're on their way to recovery. And yet they were able to, through their -- because of their generous hearts, ship help. And so thanks very much, and please thank His Majesty for his generous contribution to the folks down there.

Thank you.

END 2:56 P.M. EDT

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