July 11, 2006

Bush: Georgia on his mind, freedom in his soul

An excerpt from President Bush's meeting with President Saakashvili of Georgia:

Q Mr. President, as you mentioned, you've faced a lot of important challenges in many places, like Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and North Korea. And at the same time, the whole world recognizes your personal role in promoting democracy and freedom all around. And how do you think, is there any chance that Georgia's aspiration to build free and democracy country may be left off of your agenda?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Freedom -- I believe freedom is universal. And I believe the spread of liberty is important for peace. And therefore, the freedom agenda will be at the heart of everything I do. The freedom agenda is ingrained in my -- it's not only ingrained in my policy, it's ingrained in my soul. I believe it strongly. And I believe the United States has an obligation to work with others to help them secure their liberty.

I understand that elections are only the beginning of the freedom agenda, and that there's work needed to be done around the world, including our own country, to continue to build strong institutions and build the organizations necessary for a civil society to develop. Remember, ours was a country that wrote a great Constitution but enslaved people for a hundred years. It takes time. And so I understand that. And I want to work with our friends that ask. Georgia is a sovereign government, and when governments say, will you help, America must always listen to requests for help, and specifically to Georgia.

One of the signature pieces of policy in my administration has been the Millennium Challenge Account. It's a foreign funding mechanism that recognizes countries that fight corruption, support rule of law, invest in the health and education of their people, and adopt open markets. And one of the most robust Millennium Challenge Account projects is with Georgia. It's a sign -- should be a sign to the people of Georgia, and people in the neighborhood, that the United States respects the decisions this government has made, and wants to work closely with the people of Georgia to help Georgia succeed, to help create the conditions for success.

And so to answer your question, yes, I've got a lot that comes to my desk here, absolutely. I've got a lot to think about. But my friend, the President, wouldn't be sitting here if I didn't have Georgia on my mind.


Posted by Kyer at July 11, 2006 12:00 PM | TrackBack