George W. Bush photo

Remarks Following Discussions With Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad bin Badawi of Malaysia

July 19, 2004

President Bush. We'll have just two statements. Mr. Prime Minister, welcome.

Prime Minister Abdullah. Thank you very much.

President Bush. We just had a very wide-ranging discussion. I appreciate the Prime Minister's friendship. I want to thank him for his leadership. I want to thank him for the cooperation on counterterrorism efforts.

We talked about how we can work together to improve the economic condition of both our countries, as well as the Middle East. He had some very interesting suggestions about the Middle East. We talked about the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and I assured him I am fully committed to the development of a Palestinian state that can live side by side with Israel in peace.

We talked about Iraq, and I told him I was pleased with the progress being made in Iraq. And the Prime Minister had some helpful suggestions. So, all in all, it's been a very constructive meeting.

I was pleased to hear that there are 7,000 Malaysian students in U.S. schools, and I think that's a constructive sign, Mr. Prime Minister. And I wish them all the best, and I know they'll be treated well here in the United States.

So welcome, sir.

Prime Minister Abdullah. Thank you very much, Mr. President, for accepting me to come here to call on you in spite of your very busy schedule.

But I would like to say this, that our bilateral relation between the United States and Malaysia is certainly very strong. You cannot judge our bilateral relations simply on the basis of what you hear—that we may have some differences on Iraq or on Palestine. But the foundation of the bilateral relation has remained strong all the time. And our economic cooperation is excellent, I must say, and our education programs, and we have some other cooperation in defense and many areas of cooperation, which has made our relation with the United States—our relation is very, very, very strong.

And we believe—and I believe that more can be done, and we have already improved a lot. And today I have this assurance from the President, himself. And I am certainly grateful you have been able to explain to me so many aspects of the issues pertaining to Palestine and Israel. There's nothing better than to get from the President of the United States, himself, on all these issues because he is very much involved. And management of all these problems and issues relating to this Palestine and Israel and so—other issues too.

And we talked about Islam, and we believe that the Muslim countries can be helped to better understanding the unique capacity-building. And we are also trying to do whatever we can. I think this capacity-building can help to reduce poverty, the condition of poverty, and with that, deprive the terrorists of their own agenda to hijack these people, and to support them.

And at the same time, I'd like just to tell you that Malaysia is ready to send a medical team, a sizable medical team to Iraq.

President Bush. That's great. Thank you.

Prime Minister Abdullah. And we hope to be able to also participate in reconstruction of Iraq and do whatever job we can to help.

President Bush. Thank you, sir.

NOTE: The President spoke at 3:39 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House.

George W. Bush, Remarks Following Discussions With Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad bin Badawi of Malaysia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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