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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid