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Democracy In Mongolia

John Hill is the Principal Director for East Asia for the U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. Speaking at a forum hosted by the Asia Foundation in Mongolia's capital, Ulaanbaatar, Mr. Hill noted that democracy took root in nations like Great Britain, France, Japan, Germany, and the United States only after centuries of evolution, which included violent conflict.

"So it is in this context of a long-term perspective that we should look at the progress Mongolia has already achieved in just a little more than twenty years of democratic government," said Mr. Hill. "It is indeed a remarkable progress," he said, "that reflects the free and independent spirit of Mongol culture over the millennia and a determination to protect that freedom and independence in a modern system of democratic government that provides the basis for economic development, that affords equal protection under the law, and that ensures the government serves the people by providing them the secure legal and social framework within which they can pursue their dreams."

Mongolia's economic and legal reforms enabled it to be one of the first eligible countries for the Millennium Challenge Account, allowing the Mongolian government to take advantage of two-hundred-eighty-five-million dollars of U.S. grant opportunities. The U.S. and Mongolia are cooperating in efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the illicit sale of nuclear materials.

After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S., Mongolia sent troops to Iraq and Afghanistan to support the global campaign against terrorism. Mongolia has deployed military personnel to Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Sudan, Western Sahara, the Congo, Ethiopia, and Eritrea in support of international peacekeeping efforts. Mongolia participates in a number of international organizations including the ASEAN [Association of South East Asian Nations] Regional Forum and other multilateral groups to help promote economic integration and mutual understanding between nations.

"Mongolia shows how democratic principles bind like-minded countries together, allowing them to take advantage of new economic and political opportunities," said director Hill. "Mongolian leadership on the international stage," he said, "continues to set an example for young democracies to emulate in the future."