Mid East reform tops G8 agenda - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Mid East reform tops G8 agenda

June 9, 2004

Sea Island -- President Bush meets with several leaders from the Middle East on day two of the G8 summit. The leaders are discussing the president's plan to encourage economic and democratic reform in the Middle East.

The delegation includes Afghanistan president Hamed Karzai and the newly appointed interim Iraqi President Ghazi Al-Yawer. Also in attendance: Jordan’s King Abdullah as well as the leaders of Yemen, Turkey, Algeria, and Bahrain.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Morocco turned down invitations to participate in the summit.

The agenda is expected to focus on strengthening the world economy as well as president bush's plan of democracy in the Middle East. The president's national security adviser calls it not only a historic opportunity, but an obligation.

National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said,  "The way to freedom and democracy has to be paved by the people of the region themselves. But the American president has to set the agenda."

The president said he'd like to see NATO play a "somewhat" larger role in Iraq. However, he acknowledged there wouldn’t be any major infusion of new troops.

posted at 4:40PM by dave.miller@walb.com