Remarks by President Bush at Secretary of State's Dinner with Annapolis Conference Participants


Department of State

7:10 P.M. EST

PRESIDENT BUSH: Madam Secretary, thank you for your hospitality. I was wondering where my place is. (Laughter.) I appreciate very much your hosting this important dinner.

Prime Minister Olmert, welcome. President Abbas, Secretary General Ban, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, and all those who have gathered here in the cause of peace, welcome to the United States. We're glad you're here.

We've come together this week because we share a common goal: two democratic states -- Israel and Palestine -- living side by side in peace and security.

Achieving this goal requires difficult compromises -- and the Israelis and Palestinians have elected leaders committed to making them. Achieving this goal requires neighbors committed to peace between Israel and a new Palestinian state -- and I'm encouraged by the presence of so many here. Achieving this goal requires the commitment of the international community, including the United States. Tonight I restate my personal commitment on behalf of the United States to all those in the Middle East who wish to live in freedom and peace: We stand with you, at the Annapolis Conference and beyond.

The extremists and terrorists want our efforts to fail. They're working actively to undermine every effort as we try to achieve peace and reconciliation. We offer a more hopeful vision -- of a Middle East growing in freedom and dignity and prosperity. We are here to renew our efforts to achieve this vision. And tonight, I offer a toast to all of our honored guests, and to the future of peace that we can build together.

(A toast is offered.)

END 7:12 P.M. EST


White House Press Office

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