Colin Powell: Democracy is the key to US policy abroad

From a New Year statement by the US Secretary of State, given to the press in Washington DC
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In the year 2004 you will see us moving even more aggressively to do everything we can to expand peace throughout the world, to expand economic opportunity to all nations in the world, for the purpose of generating wealth and opportunity for prosperity for the peoples of the world, and pressing for freedom and openness in systems and societies around the world, not in a lecturing mode, but recognising that we believe strongly that human rights and freedom are God-given rights and not just the purview of a particular government.

We enter 2004 in an interesting arrangement, if I can use that word. We saw a lot of things happen over the last few months. We've seen progress in the global war against terror. We've seen greater co-operation between the nations of the world. But the challenge ahead of us is a difficult and a long one. As the President said from the very beginning, after 9/11, it will take a long time, it will take our best efforts, and it will take working with all of our friends and partners.

It's going to be an exciting year for us here, as well, because the President, as you know, will be hosting the G-8 here later in the summer, and we have stewardship of the G-8 process this year. And the President is also looking forward to the Nato summit in Turkey in June, as well as the summit in Monterey of the Americas, mini-summit of the Americas next week. And there will, of course, be a US-EU summit, as well as a number of other things - all in an election year.