March 02, 2011

Chairman Kerry Unveils New Financial Package To Promote Democracy In The Arab World

Washington, DC – During today’s foreign affairs budget hearing, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) unveiled plans to develop a new package of significant financial assistance to promote democracy and economic transformation in the Arab world.

Chairman Kerry stated:

“Events this powerful demand a response of equal power. Our commitment now to the ordinary people who are risking their lives to win human rights and democracy will be remembered for generations in the Arab world. We have to get this moment right.  We are working here in the Senate with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to create a package of financial assistance to help turn the new Arab awakening into a lasting rebirth.

“This is not about sending troops and tanks to remake a region in our image. It is about sending economists and election experts and humanitarian aid to help a region remake itself. We have not worked out the numbers or the details yet, but I am convinced a significant financial commitment by the US to assist in this monumental and uplifting transformation is key to its long-term outcome and our relationship to it.

“We are being called upon to forge new relationships in a part of the world that has been and will remain vital to our national security. And we have been given the opportunity to demonstrate conclusively to the young men and women of the Muslim world and beyond that al Qaeda’s belief that change requires violence and radicalization is wrong.

“One thing stands out in the events of the past month:  The Arab awakening is an unambiguous repudiation of al Qaeda’s poisonous doctrine. We now have one of history’s greatest opportunities to affirm the universal appeal of democratic values to people across cultures and religions and to encourage an entire region toward reform and away from violence.

“I understand that we face a budget crisis in our own country. But we can either pay now to help brave people build a better, democratic future for themselves or we will certainly pay later with increased threats to our own national security.”

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