George W. Bush photo

Remarks With President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia Prior to a Discussion With Civic Leaders in Tbilisi

May 10, 2005

President Bush. Thank you for having me. I'm anxious to hear from you. There is—one of the great things about—and one of the most important things about democracy is to honor minority rights, is to recognize the rights of minorities. In my own country, we have struggled with this issue throughout our history, and yet we're constantly reminding ourselves of the need to respect minorities.

And I want to thank you for giving me the chance to come and visit with you. You've got a great country. It's a hopeful example, and to the extent that—as you move forward, I know you will honor your country but, at the same time, the heritage of those who live in the country.

So thank you for giving me a chance to come by and visit with you. I look forward to hearing from you. I'm honored to be here. It's an exciting moment for me and my wife, Laura, to be in this—in this beautiful country. Thank you.

President Saakashvili. Well, I'll just say maybe one or two words. You know, we are—I've always been impressed and excited to see how people of all different ethnic origins, Hispanics and Russians and all the others, speaking to American system of democracy and rule of law and how all of them are proud to be Americans by also preserving their identity.

And we strongly believe that Georgia is not weak because it's diverse. On the contrary, our diversities are our strength. So this is our firm belief. You see all different people here, Mr. President. In fact, you saw yesterday comprised elements of all different ethnic groups. You went to the area where all the different ethnic groups have lived for generations and for thousands of years.

And again, thank you very much for coming. And thank you for sharing this conversation with all of us.

President Bush. Okay, thanks.

[At this point, the public portion of the event concluded.]

NOTE: The President spoke at 10:50 a.m. at the Parliament Building. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

George W. Bush, Remarks With President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia Prior to a Discussion With Civic Leaders in Tbilisi Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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