On a visit to Budapest, President George W. Bush said that the people of Hungary, when they rose up against Soviet tyranny in 1956, provided an inspiration for people seeking to move from dictatorship to democracy. "In 1989," said Mr. Bush, "a new generation of Hungarians returned to the streets to demand their liberty, and boldly helped others secure their freedom as well":
"By giving shelter to those fleeing tyranny and opening your border to the West, you helped bring down the Iron Curtain, and gave the hope of freedom to millions in Central and Eastern Europe. Because you had the courage to lead, Hungary became the first communist nation in Europe to make the transition to democracy."
President Bush said that Hungary has continued to move forward. "You regained your independence, held free elections, and established a free economy," he said. "Hungary is now a valued member of NATO and the European Union," said President Bush, and Hungarian troops have helped to secure peace in Kosovo, rebuild schools and train police in Afghanistan, and provide security and deliver food and medical supplies to coalition forces in Iraq. "Americans and Hungarians, and other coalition partners can be proud of what we have achieved in partnership with the Iraqi people," Mr. Bush said.
He said he had met with Iraq's new prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, and "was able to see firsthand his strong character, his commitment to freedom, and his determination to succeed." The success of the new Iraqi government, he said, "is vital to the security of all nations, and so it deserves the support of the international community."
"We will continue," said President George W. Bush, "to help the Iraqi government establish free institutions, to achieve its goals, and we will continue to help Iraq take its rightful place alongside America and Hungary as beacons of liberty in our world."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.