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Blair attends San Francisco social gathering at Shultz family home

British Prime Minister Tony Blair (right) is welcomed by George and Charlotte Shultz at a reception in their Russian Hill home, where he spoke to more than 80 business and community leaders.
Chronicle pool photo by David Paul Morris

By Brent Begin, Bay City News Service

July 30, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair received a warm welcome from local leaders yesterday evening during a social reception at the home of former Secretary of State George Shultz. Shultz and his wife, San Francisco Director of Protocol Charlotte Shultz, greeted Blair, the first British prime minister to visit the Bay Area while in office, in the lobby of the 999 Green St. building where they live.

The three took the elevator up to the Shultz's penthouse apartment just after 5:55 p.m. and met in private for about 15 minutes. Then George Shultz introduced Blair to the approximately 80 people attending the reception.

"Charlotte and I are deeply honored to have you in our home," he said.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and police Chief Heather Fong were in attendance along with local dignitaries and business leaders. Newsom touted San Francisco as "the birthplace of biotechnology" and a city that prides itself on green technology and environmental stewardship. Newsom presented Blair with a traditional key to the city.

Blair talked for less than five minutes, speaking of the growing trade between Britain and California and the important business relationship the two places share.

He also spoke of his country's traditional relationship with the U.S.

"There are many tremendous uncertainties and difficulties in our world today," Blair said, "but one thing that does stand out in our country and yours attachment to certain basic values, democracy, the rule of law... values that governments can strive for but in the end people represent."

U.S. Secret Service agents and San Francisco police were outside the home providing security. Several vehicles in forbidden zones were towed and portions of sidewalks in the Russian Hill neighborhood were blocked off.

At least 35 police motorcycles escorted Blair's car through the city.

Blair flew into San Francisco International Airport Friday evening around 5:30. He is expected to highlight British commercial opportunities, particularly in the innovation and biotechnology sectors. Blair is also expected to focus on international issues such as climate change, globalization and trade.

The prime minister is scheduled to tour the Delancey Street Foundation on Sunday. Afterward, he is expected to tour Cisco Systems and on Monday he is scheduled to meet with business leaders at Genentech headquarters in South San Francisco.

He also met briefly with California gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides. Blair is scheduled to meet with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger later this week in southern California.

Blair is expected to leave from San Francisco International Airport Monday at 1 p.m.

Copyright © 2006 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




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