- The Washington Times - Friday, July 6, 2001

From combined dispatches
KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine — President Bush arrived yesterday at his family's vacation retreat, looking forward to a birthday celebration and a break from Washington's sweltering summer.
It was the president's first trip to Kennebunkport since taking office in January.
Mr. Bush, who turns 55 today, stepped off Air Force One at the airport in nearby Stanford holding the family's Scottish terrier, Barney, with one arm. In his other hand he held an umbrella, as a light rain greeted the president for his post-Independence Day vacation. A second family dog — a springer spaniel named Spot — followed Mr. Bush off the plane.
"He'll be enjoying a Fourth of July weekend with his family," said White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan. "It'll be a relatively quiet weekend."
Before leaving Washington yesterday, Mr. Bush met at the White House with state and local officials to lobby for his education plan, and also met with the president of Guatemala.
Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo asked Mr. Bush to support legislation that would allow Guatemalan refugees from the country's 36-year civil war to stay in the United States.
Mr. Portillo said after the meeting that he had asked Mr. Bush to back expanding the 1997 Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act — which allows Cuban and Nicaraguan refugees in the United States as of December 1995 to remain as permanent residents — to include Guatemalans.
"The response was very positive in the sense that the United States is going to look into this and look into the possibility of offering its support," Mr. Portillo told reporters.
Refugee groups say the Guatemalan government lacks the resources to cope with resettling refugees from the civil war. Also, money sent back home from refugees working in the United States is an important source of income for family members still in Guatemala.
The White House had no direct comment on Mr. Portillo's appeal on behalf of Guatemalan war refugees in the United States, saying a broad range of subjects were addressed during the meeting. Mr. Bush and Mr. Portillo "discussed human rights and democracy in Guatemala, the peace accord implementation process and Guatemalan reform efforts," said White House National Security spokesman Sean McCormack.
"The president emphasized U.S. concerns about human rights. … In general the president encouraged Guatemala to continue its positive human rights stances and efforts to combat impunity for past human rights abuses," Mr. McCormack said.
With his 18-month-old administration threatened by a political crisis, Mr. Portillo said he also had stressed the importance of labor and economic reforms in Guatemala, including raising taxes and improving tax collections.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer declined to attach any cosmic importance to Mr. Bush's 55th birthday. Asked if it was a milestone, Mr. Fleischer said: "It is if you obey speed limits."

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