|VOICE OF AMERICA|
|SLUG: 2-323030 Bush/Syria (L)||DATE:||NOTE NUMBER:|
HEADLINE: Bush Says Syria Should Leave Lebanon
INTRO: President Bush says Syria must get its troops and intelligence services out of Lebanon. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, Mr. Bush is trying to keep the pressure on Syria, as the country's Arab neighbors also are pushing for a withdrawal from Lebanon.
TEXT: President Bush says the world is speaking with one voice to ensure that democracy and freedom are given a chance to flourish in Lebanon, without Syrian influence.
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"For years, the Lebanese people have suffered from the aftermath of a horrific civil war and occupation by Syria. Lebanese citizens who have watched free elections in Iraq are now demanding the right to decide their own destiny, free of Syrian control and domination."
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In his weekly radio address, Mr. Bush said America and Europe stand together with the Lebanese people behind a U.N. resolution demanding respect for the country's sovereignty, the withdrawal of all foreign forces and the holding of free and fair elections, without foreign influence.
President Bush says Syria's support for terrorism remains a key obstacle to peace in the Middle East, at a time when there are still groups who will kill to prevent peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Mr. Bush praised newly-elected Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for his commitment to chasing down and punishing those responsible for the recent bombing in Tel Aviv. He says such actions are a critical part of the peace process.
In the last five months, President Bush says, peaceful demonstrations in Beirut, elections in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Palestinian territories, and steps toward democratic reform in Egypt and Saudi Arabia show a trend.
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"The trend is clear: In the Middle East and throughout the world, freedom is on the march. The road ahead will not be easy, and progress will sometimes be slow. But America, Europe and our Arab partners must all continue the hard work of defeating terrorism and supporting democratic reforms."
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President Bush says, when freedom and democracy take root in the Middle East, America and the world will be safer and more peaceful. (SIGNED)
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