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Bush Promotes Middle East Change

The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:

In his state of the union address before the U.S. Congress, President George W. Bush sounded what has become his rallying cry: Peace is possible only through the advance of liberty:

"The only force powerful enough to stop the rise of tyranny and terror, and replace hatred with hope, is the force of human freedom."

"America will…support democratic movements in the Middle East and beyond," said Mr. Bush, "with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

Mr. Bush said that the U.S. will work with allies in the Middle East to fight terrorism, "while we encourage a higher standard of freedom." He called on Saudi Arabia and Egypt to give greater voice to their people and allow democratic reforms.

President Bush also had strong words for the rulers of Syria and Iran. "We must confront regimes," he said, "that continue to harbor terrorists and pursue weapons of mass murder":

"Syria still allows its territory, and parts of Lebanon, to be used by terrorists who seek to destroy every chance of peace in the region. You [the Congress] have passed, and we are applying, the Syrian Accountability Act – and we expect the Syrian government to end all support for terror and open the door to freedom."

President Bush called Iran "the world's primary state sponsor of terror":

"Pursuing nuclear weapons while depriving its people of the freedom they seek and deserve. We are working with European allies to make clear to the Iranian regime that it must give up its uranium enrichment program and any plutonium reprocessing and end its support for terror. And to the Iranian people, I say tonight: As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you."

Mr. Bush said that recent elections in Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine, and the Palestinian territories show that the advance of freedom is experiencing "great momentum." "We are witnessing landmark events in the history of liberty," said President Bush. "And in the coming years, we will add to that story."