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July 25, 08

NEWS / America Must Continue to Stand for Freedom, Bush Says

America Must Continue to Stand for Freedom, Bush Says

Human rights, democracy, development all essential to building peace

By David I. McKeeby
Staff Writer

Washington -- America must continue to stand with those who seek freedom not only from tyranny, but also from the scourges of poverty, disease and hunger, says President Bush.

“The challenge for future presidents and future Congresses is to ensure that America always stands with those seeking freedom -- and never hesitates to shine the light of conscience on abuses of human rights across the world,” Bush said in a July 24 speech at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Honoring a group of democracy activists from Belarus, Burma, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria and Zimbabwe, Bush urged the release of all prisoners of conscience worldwide, including Ayman Nour of Egypt, Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma, Oscar Biscet of Cuba and Riad Seif of Syria, and urged activists to continue the struggle for democracy.

“America hears you,” he said. “Millions of our citizens stand with you. And hope still lives, even in bleak places and in dark moments.”

Elsewhere, Bush said, the cause of freedom requires renewed effort to promote democracy and good governance as a remedy for the hopelessness caused by poverty and corruption.

Mechanisms such as the Millennium Challenge Corporation are giving poor nations new tools to invest in their citizens’ future, he said, while a commitment to free trade and open markets is creating new economic opportunities worldwide.

America must also continue efforts to help nations struggling with debilitating public health challenges from HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, Bush said, highlighting his administration’s efforts to train health workers and deliver treatment to more than 1.7 million people through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

The challenge for the future “will be to continue this commitment, so that we can lift the shadow of malaria and HIV/AIDS and other diseases once and for all,” he said.

As the world’s single largest provider of food aid, the United States is also leading the way in the struggle against global hunger, Bush said, another key component of building stable, free societies.

Bush called on Congress to consider a new proposal to purchase up to 25 percent of future food aid from farmers in the developing world, cutting shipping costs and creating new opportunities.

“This would help build up local agriculture; it will help break the cycle of famine. And I ask the United States Congress to approve this measure as soon as possible,” he said.

Source: http://www.america.gov/st/peacesec-english/2008/July/20080724171929idybeekcm0.70245.html?CP.rss=true

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