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

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs