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Top US imagemaker Hughes defends Iraq policy | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) -Karen Hughes, the US State Department”s top imagemaker, has defended the US-led war in Iraq, saying a stable and democratic Iraq would contribute to greater world peace.

Hughes, a close confidante of President George W. Bush and undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, said US involvement in Iraq was aimed at ensuring security and peace in the Middle East.

&#34I know the Muslim world disagreed with America”s decision to go into Iraq,&#34 said Hughes, who arrived in Malaysia for a two-day goodwill visit dubbed as a &#34listening trip&#34.

&#34President Bush made the decision that he believed was in the best interest of American security and for greater peace in the world including in the Muslim world,&#34 she said.

&#34He believed it was in the best interest of the Middle East itself that Iraq becomes a democratic and stable nation in the heart of the Middle East.

&#34I know that many people here have concerns about the war in Iraq. No one likes war. We believe that when we are able to build a stable, unified and democratic Iraq that the cause of peace in the world will spread further.&#34

Hughes was sworn in a month ago and given the delicate job of polishing the United States”s global image, which has taken a battering in the Muslim world and elsewhere over the Iraq war and other disputes.

She said Muslim Malaysia, which chairs the 57-member Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the 116-member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), could play a pivotal role in fostering global tolerance and combatting terrorism.

&#34I do believe Malaysia can be a very important part of our outreach to confront terror. Here in Malaysia you have the experience of different cultures living together in an atmosphere of tolerance,&#34 she said.

&#34That provides a very important example to other parts of the world — to Iraq, for example, as the people there try figure out how to get along better in a spirit of harmony.&#34

Hughes, who arrived in Malaysia after a trip to Indonesia, was to meet Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak to discuss Malaysia”s role in fostering understanding among people of different faiths.