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Bush calls for establishing Democracy Fund

Suman Guha Mozumder at the United Nations | September 22, 2004 08:55 IST

United States President George Bush Tuesday proposed the establishment of a fund within the United Nations to help countries strengthen the foundations of democracy, and pledged initial US contributions for this purpose.

Addressing the UN General Assembly in New York,  Bush said that the fund, which he described as Democracy Fund, would help countries lay the foundations of democracy by instituting the rule of law, independent courts, a free press, political parties and trade unions.

Money from the fund, he said, would also help set up voter precincts and polling places and support the work of election monitors.

"Because I believe the advance of liberty is the path to both a safer and better world, today I propose establishing a Democracy Fund with the UN. This is a great calling for this organisation (UN)," Bush

Bush, however, did not say in as many words which countries the proposed fund should help, nor when the US would make such an initial contribution and the amount that Washington would contribute.

The president was evidently alluding to Afghanistan and Iraq, where, he said, the US would stand with the people until their hopes of freedom and security are fulfilled.  Bush said that these two nations will be a model for the broader Middle East -- a region where millions have been denied basic human rights and simple justice.

"We must help the reformers of the Middle East as they work for freedom and strive to build a community of peaceful, democratic nations," he said.

He also said that the scheduled elections in Afghanistan next month would be an answer to any who question whether Muslims societies can be democratic societies.

Bush, who quoted Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, the pro-democracy leader from Myanmar, said that the members states of the United Nations know that her words that democracy is not a Western value and that it simply means good government that has responsibility, transparency and accountability, is true.

"In recent years, this organisation has helped create a new democracy in East Timor, and the UN has aided other nations in making the transition to self-rule," Bush said.

"Each of us alone can only do so much. Together, we can accomplish so much more," he said, adding that history will honour the UN's high ideals. "Let history show that in a decisive decade, members of the United Nations did not grow weary in our duties, or waver in meeting them."

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