Blair attends San Francisco social gathering at Shultz family
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,"
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
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
"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
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.
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