The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 15, 2008

President Bush Participates in Roundtable with Saudi Entrepreneurs
U.S. Embassy
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

  Presidential Remarks

      Middle East Trip

8:51 P.M. (Local)

THE PRESIDENT: I'm George W. Bush, President of the United States. (Laughter.) Thank you all for joining us. Ambassador, thanks for setting this up. It's important for the President to hear thoughts, hopes, dreams, aspirations, concerns from folks that are out making a living. And I really appreciate you taking time out of your day to come and visit with me. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

One thing that's for certain: The United States benefits when people come to my country. And one of my concerns was after September the 11th that our visa policy, particularly for Saudis, was tightened to the point where we missed opportunity to show young and old alike what our country is really about. I love the fact that some of you were educated in America. I think you'll find you got a good education there, but more importantly, Americans get to see you, and you get to see them. And the best way to achieve better understanding in the world is for folks just to get together, and get to understand that we share the same God, and we share the same aspirations for children and for our futures.

And so this is an important visit for me. I'm thrilled to be in the Kingdom. I have -- I've got very close relations with His Majesty. We had a good visit last night on a variety of subjects. We talked about Palestinian peace; we talked about the security issues of the region. I talked to the Ambassador, and will again talk to His Majesty tonight about the fact that oil prices are very high, which is tough on our economy, and that I would hope, as OPEC considers different production levels, that they understand that if their -- one of their biggest consumers' economy suffers, it will mean less purchases, less oil and gas sold.

And so we've got a lot of things to talk about, but I want to assure you it's from the spirit of friendship. And the hospitality last night was warm, and the conversation was excellent -- just like this one is going to be.

So I want to thank you for coming. I appreciate your time.

END 8:55 A.M. (Local)

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