Washington — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the United States “will not walk away” from new democracies created by revolutions in the Arab world, and the international community has a powerful stake in seeing them succeed.
Speaking September 26 at a U.N. Security Council hearing on peace and security in the Middle East, Clinton said the United States rejects “the false choice between democracy and stability” and welcomes the political changes that are under way in the region.
“Democracies make the strongest, most capable partners, and we know that it takes a lot of hard work and oftentimes struggle,” but the establishment of emerging democracies in countries like Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya “should be a cause for great satisfaction and hope,” she said.
Even though the citizens of emerging democracies have the most at stake and bear the greatest responsibility for ensuring the success of their revolutions, the international community also must step up as “champions” of their struggle and not be “fair weather friends,” Clinton said.
“Making good on the promise of these transitions will take many hands working on many fronts,” she said.
Supporters of democratic change should heed the lessons learned from the past, including the understanding that "training, funding and equipment only go so far" because "It takes the political will to make hard choices and tough changes that will build strong institutions and lasting security," she said.
The international community must stand together in support of the common aspirations for security, safety, the dignity of self-determination and “the freedom to live lives according to our own conscience,” she said.
The secretary said recent protests directed against Americans and Westerners over an anti-Islamic film “exposed a deep rift within new democracies and volatility that extremists were quick to instigate and exploit.”
But Clinton noted that thousands of Libyans poured into the streets on September 21 to condemn the September 11 attacks that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi.
Those demonstrators “made it clear that those who would promote violence and division do not speak for the new Libya, and that armed bands who would sever Libya’s ties with the world are not welcome,” she said.
On Syria, Clinton said Bashar al-Assad’s campaign of brutality “has sparked a humanitarian crisis,” and the United States has committed more than $100 million to help the Syrian people.
The violence must end and “a political transition without Assad must move forward,” she said.
As the atrocities in Syria escalate, the U.N. Security Council “remains paralyzed” on the issue, Clinton said, urging “that we try once again to find a path forward that can bring the Security Council forward” to end the violence.
Concerning the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, Clinton said the future “must belong to those who embrace the hard work of peace, not those who thrive on conflict or reject the right of Israel to exist.”
The United States “stands ready and prepared to work toward a just agreement” that will accomplish the goal of seeing “a secure Jewish state of Israel” and “an independent, secure, prosperous Palestine” that fulfills Palestinian aspirations, Clinton said.