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White House to Honor Three World Leaders

U.S. President George Bush has awarded the country's highest civilian honor to three current and former world leaders for their efforts to promote democracy, human rights and peace.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Mr. Bush will give the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, and former Prime Ministers Tony Blair of the United Kingdom and John Howard of Australia.

She told reporters in Washington Monday that all three men have been staunch allies of the United States, particularly in combatting terrorism.

Perino said their efforts to bring hope and freedom to people around the globe have made their nations, America and the world a safer and more secure place.

The award ceremony is scheduled to take place January 13 at the White House.

The Medal of Freedom may be awarded by the president to any person who has made an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, or to world peace, cultural or other significant endeavors.

President Bush has previously awarded 78 medals during his tenure.