Bush meets with President of Guatemala

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

George W. Bush, the President of the United States, met in the Oval Office of the White House with Alvaro Colom, the President of Guatemala.

Bush spoke after the meeting: "We've had a good discussion about a variety of issues. We discussed bilateral relations between Guatemala and the United States, which are very strong. We are friends. We treat each other with respect. Our objective with U.S. foreign policy is to have a neighborhood that is peaceful and prosperous, where social justice is important; want to achieve social justice through good health policy, good education policy, good judicial policy. The United States is pleased to help this government as best as we possibly can help the average citizen get a good education and have good health care."

George W. Bush listens to remarks by President Alvaro Colom

Mr. Bush mentioned that they had also discussed the issue of reform. "We talked about the reforms that the government is instituting inside of Guatemala, including tax reform, and reform to make sure that people who break the law are held to account," he said.

"I was particularly pleased to note that the Guatemalan government and its leadership is promoting laws to make sure women are treated well and that violence against women is prosecuted," Bush continued.

Colom later commented on the meeting: "We discussed, as the [US] President mentioned, the fight against drug trafficking. We are doing everything necessary to eliminate drug trafficking and drug traffickers from our territory. We discussed the issue of social investment. We have received support from USAID. We, our two countries, have common aims in this regard."

"We also discussed the issue of our migrants. We brought up TPS [Temporary protection status] with the President; we will be awaiting a response on that. We described our recent tax reform to the President; that is something we're starting in Guatemala because we need to ensure that we have the public funds to be able to carry out the reforms in the areas of social justice and others that we have discussed."

"We want to express our appreciation for the support that we have received from the United States to combat drug trafficking," Colom noted near the end of the speech.