BBC News highlights President Bush’s Speech to IRI

US pledges to aid new democracies
BBC News

US President George W Bush has proposed creating a corps of government workers to support emerging democracies.

Mr Bush has made his call for the spread of democracy abroad a major theme of his second term.

In a speech in Washington, Mr Bush acknowledged problems with the post-war effort in Iraq and said the US must act more quickly to help new democracies.

He said his 2006 budget proposed creating a team that could be deployed quickly to crises.

“This new corps will be on call,” Mr Bush told the International Republican Institute (IRI), which aims to promote democracy worldwide.

“If a crisis emerges and assistance is needed, America will be ready.

“One of the lessons we learned from our experience in Iraq is that while military personnel can be rapidly deployed anywhere in the world, the same is not true of US government citizens,” he said.

Only the beginning
The new Active Response Corps, made up of foreign and civil service officers, will be created by the Office of Reconstruction and Stabilisation in the state department.

Mr Bush said he had requested $24m to create the office, and $100m for a new Conflict Response Fund.

He told the IRI that all democracies were built on certain common foundations:

“To help young democracies succeed and build these institutions of liberty, we must enlist the help of many individuals and institutions,” Mr Bush said.

The president returned last week from a trip to Europe where he hailed democratic change in former Soviet republics like Georgia.

In Wednesday’s speech, Mr Bush cited a series of revolutions over the past 18 months in ex-Soviet states and across the Middle East, including Ukraine and Lebanon.
“These are only the beginning,” he said.

“We are seeing the rise of a new generation whose hearts burn for freedom – and they will have it.”


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