July 13, 2001

Bush, Rodriguez discuss rain forest project

                 WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. President George W. Bush and
                 Costa Rican President Miguel Angel Rodriguez discussed a $54 million
                 project to help the Central American nation preserve its rain
                 forests, Rodriquez said Friday.

                Speaking to reporters outside the White House after his meeting with Bush,
                Rodriguez said the funds would come from the $250 million Costa Rica owes
                the United States.

                He said Costa Rica would use the money to pay private owners for lands
                that have become part of national parks and reserves.

                 "The fund would allow us to stabilize our rain forests,
                 secure the biodiversity of Costa Rica and reduce
                 carbon gases," Rodriguez said.

                 He said Bush offered his support for a study on
                 how to carry out the project because it would
                 demonstrate U.S. interest in preserving the
                 environment and promoting regional

                   Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.