THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
November 6, 2003
President Bush calls for a "Forward Strategy
of Freedom" to Promote Democracy in the Middle East
Today's Presidential Action
In remarks at the 20th anniversary of the
National Endowment for Democracy, President Bush today announced
that the United States would pursue a "forward strategy
of freedom" to promote democracy throughout the Middle
During this time of change in world history,
the President said that the advance of freedom is the calling
of our times. Promoting democracy and freedom in the Middle
East will be a massive and difficult undertaking, but it is
worthy of America's effort and sacrifice. As long as freedom
and democracy do not flourish in the Middle East, that region
will remain stagnant, resentful, and violent ? and serve as
an exporter of violence and terror to free nations.
President Bush believes that democracy and
Islam can coexist. Millions of Muslims from Turkey to Indonesia
to Niger have proven that Islam and democracy are fully compatible.
America has accomplished the task of spreading
democracy where it has not existed before, and the President
believes that the advance of freedom will increase chances
for peace and security for Americans as well as for
the people of the Middle East.
The Administration's Record of Accomplishment
in Promoting Democracy
A RECORD OF ACCOMPLISHMENT AROUND THE WORLD:
The Administration has pursued a policy of
promoting freedom and human dignity in every part of the world.
We pursue this policy both because it is right and because
it also addresses the fear, hatred, and inequality
that contributes to terrorism and violence.
Our policy is based on core values that uphold
human rights through democracy and the rule of law. We are
committed to pursuing freedom and promoting democracy and
human rights, through both words and deeds, as a
member of the international community.
-- Greater Middle East: Moved support for
democracy in the Middle East to top of regional agenda, including
support for individual champions of human rights and for reform
efforts in Jordan, Morocco, the Gulf, and elsewhere.
-- Afghanistan: Policy based on achieving
democracy through the Bonn process and assistance to constitutional,
human rights and judicial commissions; established US-Afghan
Women's Council and funded centers to
promote women's education, entrepreneurship, and political
-- Iraq: After removing oppressive regime,
now leading international coalition to assist in Iraq's transition
to democracy; established Iraqi Governing Council, representing
the diversity of Iraqi society, to help chart course towards
drafting, ratifying, and implementing a new constitution;
building civil society through grants, workshops, consultations,
and technical assistance to a wide range of Iraqi groups;
provided over $100 million to date for local governance programs;
supported women's conferences; and established Abuse Prevention
-- Middle East Partnership Initiative: Established
first initiative to support political reform efforts and economic
development, especially for women and youth.
-- Middle East Peace: Placed democracy and
human rights at the heart of efforts for a two-state solution
to the Israeli/Palestinian dispute, demanded reforms in governance
of Palestinian Authority.
Africa: The Administration has an unparalleled
record of engagement in Africa that incorporates support for
democracy, reform, respect for human dignity and peace on
the continent. Our achievements include:
-- Liberia: Sponsored UN sanctions; engaged
with ECOWAS and key regional actors to negotiate peace deal
ending civil war that had serious human rights abuses.
-- Sudan: Heavily engaged in the peace process
to end Africa's longest-running civil war.
-- Zimbabwe: Imposed targeted sanctions against
President Mugabe, Zimbabwean Government officials, and their
spouses in an effort to protest and stop policies that undermine
democratic processes and institutions.
Asia: Our policy is focused on assisting countries
on the path towards democratization and long-term reform,
and calling attention to those who fall short.
-- Burma: Leads international calls for release
of Aung San Suu Kyi and for return to inclusive political
dialogue to restore democracy; condemns regime for its human
rights abuses; strengthened sanctions on the regime for its
imprisonment of democracy leaders and extensive human rights
-- China: Moved from defining progress on
human rights solely by prisoner releases to also enhancing
rule of law, electoral and other developments by increasing
funding for programs from $7M in FY02 to $12M in FY03.
-- North Korea: Co-sponsored the first UN
Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) resolution on human rights
in North Korea to call international attention to abuses;
consistently put human rights on the table during multilateral
talks among other subjects.
Central Asia: Contact with the region after
September 11 focused on war on terror and engagement on human
rights practices of countries in the region.
-- Democracy and Human Rights Funding after
9/11: Doubled funding for democracy programs in Kyrgyzstan
(funded first free printing press) and Turkmenistan; quadrupled
funding for democracy programs in Uzbekistan (funded first
political party programs) and Tajikistan.
-- Human Rights Practices: Sponsored first
UNCHR resolution on human rights practices in Belarus and
co-sponsored first UNCHR resolution on Turkmenistan; concluded
Joint Declarations with Presidents of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan,
Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan that cite continued progress on
democracy and human rights as central to our bilateral relationships.
-- Georgia: Appointed James Baker as Presidential
Envoy to underscore the need for free and fair parliamentary
elections this November. Election results are incoming and
we are counting on the Government and people of
Georgia to ensure a free and fair outcome.
Western Hemisphere: Commitment to democratic,
constitutional governments through the Summit of the America's
"Democracy Clause." Strong support for multi-lateral
engagement to address democratic crises in Bolivia, Venezuela,
and Haiti. Continuing efforts to promote rapid, peaceful democratic
transition in Cuba.
-- Democracy in the region: Concluded Inter-American
Democratic Charter, which defines Western Hemisphere by its
commitment to democratic principles.
-- Cuba: Launched "Initiative for a New
Cuba" challenging regime to undertake political and economic
reforms; supported resolution at UNCHR this year.
-- Haiti: Member of "Group of Friends"
working to help the Haitian people build democratic institutions,
supporting OAS efforts to resolve the political crisis.
-- Venezuela: Member of OAS Secretary General's
"Group of Friends" providing support for efforts
to comply with OAS Resolution 833 calling for a peaceful,
democratic, constitutional, and electoral solution to the
political crisis through the referendum process.
International Institutions: Committed to reforming
and rejoining international institutions that support human
rights, and promoting new initiatives.
-- Commission on Human Rights: Actively engaged
in reforming UNCHR to realize its potential through membership
and other changes.
-- UNESCO: Rejoined organization to promote
education and democracy.
-- UN General Assembly: On November 6, 2003,
U.S.-introduced resolution on Women and Political Participation
was passed by the UNGA.
Human Dignity: The Administration has taken
special efforts to safeguard the dignity of the individual.
-- Cloning: Co-sponsored resolution at the
UNGA calling for ban on all forms of human cloning.
-- Religious Freedom: Worked with OSCE to
hold first meetings on religious freedom, including anti-Semitism
-- Trafficking in Persons: President announced
$50 million to support organizations that rehabilitate women
and children who have been trafficked; U.S. efforts have led
many governments to improve their own laws and performance.
-- Programs to Support Democracy and Human
Rights: Significantly increased funding levels for Human Rights
and Democracy Fund administered by the Department of State.