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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 5, 2006

President Bush Welcomes President Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of Congo to the White House
The Oval Office

President's Remarks
      In Focus: Africa
      In Focus: Global Diplomacy

9:51 A.M. EDT

PRESIDENT BUSH: It's been my honor to welcome the President of the Congo here to the Oval Office. Mr. President, welcome. Thank you for coming. I welcome you not only as the President of your country, but as a leader of the African Union.

We had a very constructive discussion about a variety of issues. We talked about our common commitment to help end the genocide in Darfur. I appreciate the President's leadership in helping negotiate a peace agreement, and I appreciate his leadership in working with the United Nations so we can get the AU forces blue-helmeted as quickly as possible.

And one of my interests, of course, is to join with African nations in combating HIV/AIDS, and I want to congratulate the President for the low infection rate in Congo. Thank you for your leadership on that issue.

We've had a very good visit here, and I look forward to seeing you in St. Petersburg, Russia, where we can continue our discussions. So, welcome.

PRESIDENT NGUESSO: (As translated.) I, first of all, thank you, Mr. President, and I want to say to everyone that I'm very happy and honored to be here, actually for the second time, because in 1990, President Bush -- father of President Bush now-- welcomed me to this house on a state visit. So I'm very happy to be here, Mr. President.

Indeed, President Bush is absolutely right, we discussed a lot of issues that we're all interested in: peace, security, and not just in Africa, but beyond Africa, in the world. We talked about terrorism, we talked about the Iranian nuclear issue, we talked about the dialogue that's about to open up, I hope, and that will bring good results to that problem.

And on behalf of all of Africa, I thank President Bush for his commitment in fighting AIDS, the commitment of the United States in the fight against HIV/AIDS. As you know, we had a special meeting on AIDS at the United Nations General Assembly, and as you know also, Africa is the continent that suffers the most from this scourge.

And we also talked about African development issues. We talked about the situation in the Gulf of Guinea, and the Congo Basin, the NEPAD, Project for African Development in Africa. And I was happy to see President Bush give his entire support to the development of Africa.

And I'm, again, very happy with this very useful meeting that we had with President Bush here. And I'm very happy for the fact that we're going to see each other in St. Petersburg, because President Putin invited me to come to the G8 Summit as a representative for Africa.

I thank President Bush for his very friendly and warm welcome. And I'm very happy to be here, back in the White House.

END 9:58 A.M. EDT

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