Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States is working to “deliver freedom for all people” in the Middle East through a partnership with Arab countries.
“This is a partnership conceived in optimism, but built to take on the hard realities of long and difficult transitions. The recent riots and protests throughout the region have brought the challenge of transition into sharp relief. Extremists are clearly determined to hijack these wars and revolutions to further their agendas and ideology, so our partnership must empower those who would see their nations emerge as true democracies,” Clinton said at the “G-8 Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition Foreign Ministers Meeting” in New York City on Friday.
“Today, we want to send a clear message to all those in the region who are working each day in governments, in civil society, in the private sector, to build responsive institutions, to strengthen faltering economies, to deliver freedom for all people, to respect human rights: we stand with you and we will stand with you as long as it takes.”
In her remarks, Clinton did not specifically mention the death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens but stressed the importance of promoting the “benefits of democracy” in the region.
“Because our partnership is taking practical steps to help more people in the region feel the benefits of democracy in their daily lives. In Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, people rose up against their dictators because they were fed up with governments that served the interests of a few at the expense of everyone else,” Clinton said.
“But economic and social challenges did not disappear with the dictators. Too many people still can’t find jobs, and young and growing populations crave a sense of opportunity and self-determination.”
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is “helping emerging democracies find ways they can loosen regulations and make it easier to start or expand a small business,” Clinton said.
“Several partners are setting up funds to help small businesses gain access to loans and financing. People of the region need to see that their governments can be fair and just. So we are stepping up our efforts to return billions of dollars that were stolen or siphoned away over decades of cronyism and corruption,” she added.