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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 24, 2008
Fact Sheet: Advancing the Freedom Agenda
President Bush Discusses Freedom Agenda, Lays Out Plans To Ensure
That America Continues To Offer Hope To Those Languishing In Tyranny
Today, President Bush observed Captive Nations Week and discussed the progress of his Freedom Agenda while calling on future Presidents and Congresses to continue leading the cause of freedom worldwide. Different Presidents, from different eras and parties, have acted to defend and advance the cause of liberty. Because we were steadfast in liberty's defense, the cause of freedom has prevailed, and we will prevail again. It is in our interest to continue liberty's advance because we know from history that the advance of freedom is necessary for our security and peace.
Leading The Cause Of Freedom Requires Combating Hopelessness In Struggling Nations
To protect America, we must defeat the ideology of hatred by spreading the hope of freedom. Over the past seven years, this is exactly what the Administration has done. Recently, the President issued National Security Presidential Directive 58: Institutionalizing the Freedom Agenda to offer a guidepost to future Administrations, codifying many of the policies and practices he has put in place to promote freedom worldwide. The challenge for America in the years ahead is to continue to help people in struggling nations achieve freedom from corruption, disease, poverty, hunger, and tyranny. In the years ahead, America must continue to:
1. Use our foreign assistance to promote democracy and good government. Over the past seven years, we have more than doubled the Federal budget for democracy, governance, and human rights programs. We have increased the budget for the National Endowment for Democracy by more than 150 percent since 2001.
2. Promote free trade and open investment. Over the past seven years, we expanded the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which is spreading prosperity by dramatically increasing trade between the United States and Africa. We have implemented free trade agreements with 11 countries.
3. Lead the fight against disease. We are working in 15 African nations to cut the number of malaria-related deaths in half. The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is supporting treatment for more than 1.7 million people. Congress will soon pass legislation to significantly expand this vital initiative.
4. Lead the fight against global hunger. Americans are answering the call to feed the hungry. This year, the United States has provided more than $1.8 billion in new funds to bolster global food security. We are the world's largest provider of food aid, but we must transform the way that our food aid is delivered. One innovative proposal is to purchase up to 25 percent of our food assistance directly from farmers in the developing world.
5. Lead the cause of human rights. Over the past seven years, we have spoken out against human rights abuses by tyrannical regimes like those in Iran, Sudan, Syria, and Zimbabwe. We also have spoken candidly about human rights with nations with whom America has good relations, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and China. In keeping with this commitment, today President Bush renewed his call for the release of all prisoners of conscience around the world including Ayman Nour of Egypt, Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma, Oscar Biscet of Cuba, and Riad Seif of Syria.
The Best Way To Defeat The Terrorists Is To Offer A Hopeful Alternative Based On Human Liberty
We have seen a hopeful beginning for the cause of liberty at the start of the 21st century. Over the last seven years, we have seen citizens in Afghanistan and Iraq emerge from tyranny to establish representative governments. We have seen citizens in Georgia and Ukraine stand up for their right to free and fair elections. We have seen people in Lebanon take to the streets to demand their independence. We have seen strides toward democracy taken by nations such as Kuwait, Liberia, Mauritania, Morocco, and Pakistan.
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