August 7, 2017

Contact: April Brady, POMED Communications Coordinator
Phone: 202-804-4747

(Washington, D.C.) – The Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) issued the following statement in response to reports that the Department of State is drafting new statements of purpose, mission, and ambition that eliminate commitments to justice and democracy:

“Reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has ordered his department to redefine its mission and issue a new purpose statement is deeply troubling given that, in the drafts currently circulating, the primary change to the existing mission statement is the elimination of any mention of a just and democratic world.

“‘Such a move is especially alarming,’ says Executive Director Stephen McInerney, ‘in light of other statements that suggest that this administration may seek to diminish the role of justice and democracy in U.S. foreign policy. Changing policy in that way would not only be antithetical to basic American ideals, but would also benefit autocratic regimes and jeopardize U.S. security.’”

“For decades, the support of democratic values abroad has at least been a declared central tenet of U.S. foreign policy.  Autocratic governments are inherently destabilizing to the Middle East region – from the murderous regimes of Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, and Bashar al-Assad to repression in Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. A more secure and prosperous world is only attainable through more transparent, accountable, just, and democratic governments.

“As the State Department moves toward finalizing its mission statement, we urge its leadership to retain and reaffirm U.S. commitments to justice and democracy as principal elements of U.S. foreign policy.”

The Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to examining how genuine democracies can develop in the Middle East and how the United States can best support that process. Through research, advocacy, and civil society partnerships we work to strengthen the constituency for U.S. policies that peacefully support democratic reform in the Middle East.

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