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Remarks by President Bush and Vice President Adil Abd Al-Mahdi of Iraq

Washington, DC
March 15, 2007

Released by the White House
Office of the Press Secretary
10:55 A.M. EDT

PRESIDENT BUSH: It is such an honor to welcome the Vice President of a free Iraq to the Oval Office.

Mr. Vice President, I appreciate your courage. I don't know if the citizens of my country know, but the other day, a killer tried to take your life. And fortunately, you sit here, and you speak with enthusiasm and optimism about the future of your country.

One of the reasons why -- the main reason why I've reinforced our troops in Iraq is to give leaders such as yourself the opportunity to do the hard work of reconciliation. I appreciate very much the progress that you're making. I know it's hard work. It's hard work to overcome distrust that has built up over the years because your country was ruled by a tyrant that created distrust amongst people.

But you, Mr. Vice President, are showing strong vision, and a vision of peace and reconciliation. And I welcome you to the Oval Office. I thank you for your courage, and I thank you for the conversation we've had.

VICE PRESIDENT ABD AL-MAHDI: Thank you. Thank you, President. Thank you for receiving me, and the present occasion to thank you personally, and to thank the American people for all the support you've given to Iraq , the sacrifices. Also, I visited yesterday some soldiers in the hospital, and I saw their high spirit they had, really, better morale than I had, talking about their mission.

We are working hard together. Our security plan is marking some points. We are not finished, but we are doing better than expected in this plan. This will not solve the whole problem; the reconciliation process will take our political agenda forward. We are working on many issues; the hydrocarbon bill, which we approved in the Cabinet. We are working on a deBaathification bill and it will be presented later. We are working on so many things.

So, really, I want to take this occasion to thank all Americans -- the United States , you, Mr. President, the Congress, the administration -- for all the sacrifices, effort, assistance given to help my country.

Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, sir. Thank you.

END 10:58 A.M. EDT

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