George Bush: Freedom is on the march in the Middle East

From the weekly radio address of the American President at the weekend
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The Independent Online

In the short time since I returned from my trip to Europe, the world has witnessed remarkable developments in the Middle East.

In the short time since I returned from my trip to Europe, the world has witnessed remarkable developments in the Middle East.

In Lebanon, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in peaceful protest over the brutal assassination of the former Prime Minister, [Rafik] Hariri.

For years, the Lebanese people have suffered from the aftermath of a horrific civil war and occupation by Syria.

Lebanese citizens who have watched free elections in Iraq are now demanding the right to decide their own destiny, free of Syrian control and domination.

Syria has been an occupying force in Lebanon for nearly three decades, and Syria's support for terrorism remains a key obstacle to peace in the broader Middle East.

Today, people in a long-troubled part of the world are standing up for their freedom. In the last five months, we have witnessed successful elections in Afghanistan, the Palestinian Territory and Iraq; peaceful demonstrations on the streets of Beirut; and steps toward democratic reform in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

The trend is clear: In the Middle East and throughout the world, freedom is on the march. The road ahead will not be easy, and progress will sometimes be slow. But America, Europe and our Arab partners must all continue the hard work of defeating terrorism and supporting democratic reforms.

Freedom is the birthright and deep desire of every human soul, and spreading freedom's blessings is the calling of our time. And when freedom and democracy take root in the Middle East, America and the world will be safer and more peaceful.

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