News / USA

US Urges Arab Governments to Heed Calls for Change

Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (File Photo)
Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (File Photo)
Michael Bowman

The Obama administration says governments across the Middle East should lead the way to reform demanded by demonstrators in Libya, Bahrain and elsewhere. 

With a rising death toll in Libya, where security forces have fired on protesters, and continuing demonstrations in Bahrain and Yemen, the United States is urging Arab governments to listen to calls for change, rather than repressing them.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice. spoke on NBC’s Meet The Press program. "What we are encouraging Bahrain and other governments in the region to do is to recognize that this is a yearning for change and reform that is not going to go away, that it needs to be respected, and that they need to get ahead of it by leading rather than being pushed," she said.

Ambassador Rice declined to predict the end result of reform movements sweeping the Middle East, but said the status quo in many countries is unsustainable.

"There needs to be a process for reform," said Ambassador Rice. "There are conditions that are inherently unstable: a youth bulge, high unemployment, a lack of political openness. And we have pressed publicly and privately for the kind of change that is necessary."

The American diplomat denied any inconsistency in the U.S. response to demonstrations in Egypt, Bahrain, and other nations.

"The [U.S.] message is the same: no violence," she said. "Respect the universal rights of people to assemble, to protest, to speak, to form political organizations, and get ahead of reform [embrace it]."

Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State (File Photo)
Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State (File Photo)

Appearing in a pre-recorded interview on ABC’s This Week program, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States will continue to advocate freedom and democracy across the globe, but conceded that abrupt change can be perilous and bring unforeseen results.

"Americans are in favor of human rights, freedom, democracy," said Clinton. "We know that, ultimately, the most progress that can be made on behalf of human beings anywhere is when those individuals are empowered, when they have governments that are responsive.

"That is what we want to see," continued Clinton. "At the same time, we recognize that this process can be hijacked by both outside and inside elements."

As an example, Secretary Clinton pointed to the Iranian revolution of the late 1970s, where the people overthrew the totalitarian Shah and saw a totalitarian theocratic regime come to power in its place. She said the goal is not simply for nations to hold an election in which one autocratic ruler is replaced by another, but rather for a democratic process to take root that yields true representative governments.

You May Like

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid