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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 27, 2006

President Welcomes Lebanese Parliament Member Saad Hariri to the White House
The Oval Office

President's Remarks

      In Focus: Global Diplomacy

12:00 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: It's my honor to welcome a member of the Lebanese Parliament, Saad Hariri, here to the Oval Office. We've just had a very interesting and important discussion about our mutual desire for Lebanon to be free; free of foreign influence, free of Syrian intimidation, free to chart its own course.

The American people mourn the loss of life. I know it's been hard on you and your mom, who we had the honor of meeting in Paris, and your family to think about your dad, a man who cared about Lebanon a lot. It's very important for the investigation into your dad's death to go forward. We expect there to be a full and firm investigation, and the people who are responsible for your dad's death need to be held to account.

I want to thank you for your passion for the people of Lebanon. I was telling him I was raised in West Texas and I can remember Lebanese-American-Texans being such great citizens of our state and our country. Many people of Lebanese extraction want Lebanon to flourish and thrive -- and so do I. It will be very important for the region for Lebanon's democracy to be able to reach its full potential. And there's no doubt in my mind, with the focused effort of the free world reminding Syria to uphold to U.N. resolution 1559, we will be able to achieve the objective.

So I talked about a donors conference -- he's going to work the world community to try to help organize a conference to help the Lebanese people get going. And we appreciate very much your suggestions and your advice. In the meantime, welcome to the Oval Office. Thank you for your courage. I appreciate it very much. Thank you.

END 12:02 P.M. EST

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