President Bush, President Clinton, Ladies and Gentlemen;

It is indeed a great honour and pleasure for me to welcome President Bush and President Clinton to the Maldives.

I have had the privilege of meeting both President before – President Bush during the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 and President Clinton in New York during the UN Millennium Summit.

Their visit has brought renewed hope to a people reeling from the worst calamity ever to befall the nation.

The Tsunami affected one-third of our people, and destroyed over 60 percent of our economy.

My colleagues and I have briefed Presidents Bush and Clinton on the impact of the Tsunami, on how the relief and recovery efforts are going on, and on what our needs and concerns are.

We want the world to help us get back on our feet. We invite the world to visit the Maldives. Tourism is the best road to our recovery.

The visit of President Bush and President Clinton to the Maldives also comes at a time when we are trying to strengthen our democratic system. Not only are we pursuing recovery plus after the Tsunami, we are also working on ushering in a more representative from of democracy in the Maldives.

Just yesterday, I received a letter from President George W Bush pledging US support to our efforts to rebuild our nation.

America is a very good friend of the Maldives. We maintain close collaboration on issues of mutual interest at the UN. We share a common love of international peace and security, and oppose terrorism in all its forms.

I thank American people and Government for their hand of friendship at this hour of need.

I also thank President Bush and President Clinton for visiting us, and hope that they will come again.

Thank you.