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Ghana Hosts State Dinner for Bush


The president and Mrs. Bush are in Ghana where they were the guests of honor at a state dinner hosted by President John Kufuor and his wife, Theresa. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

Ghanaian dancers performed at the official dinner at Accra's State Banquet Hall, which was renovated for the 50th anniversary of Ghana's independence last year.

Ghanaian President John Kufuor thanked President Bush for supporting conflict resolution efforts in Somalia, Chad, Kenya, and Sudan. He commended Mr. Bush for working with the heads of the world's leading industrialized nations to cancel $40 billion of debt owed by poor countries to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

President Kufuor said the American leader's decision to extend lower tariffs under the African Growth and Opportunity Act have helped Ghanaian businesses. He thanked Mr. Bush for issuing performance-based grants through the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which currently has a more than $500 millionr compact with Ghana to improve agricultural production.

"We note with great admiration your commitment to the respect of human rights, democracy, and good governance as well as your humanitarian support for the drive toward poverty alleviation," he said.

President Bush's father has the international airport in Houston, Texas named after him. Now George W. Bush has his own road in Accra. President Kufuor announced the renaming of one of the capital's busiest routes, which is being rebuilt as a 14-kilometer, six-lane highway. "Henceforth, it will be called the George Bush Motorway," he said.

President Bush responded by joking about the traffic problems his visit here has created as security has shut down roads around his event sites. "The next time I come and ride on the George Bush Motorway, I promise that we will not shut the highway down," he said.

In his toast, President Bush called President Kufuor a close friend, saying the outgoing head of the African Union has earned the respect of leaders around the world. "We first met in 2001. We were new presidents. And here we are nearly seven years later, and we are fixing to leave office. But we both vow we will finish strong with our heads held high," he said.

President Bush finishes this trip to Africa Thursday in Liberia.

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