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Rice Calls Conditions In Arab World 'Unacceptable'

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (file photo) 8 February 2005 -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said today that the Arab world is suffering from an "unacceptable" lack of freedom and economic prosperity.

In a major foreign policy address today in Paris, Rice said that despite Arab contributions to civilization, people in the region are now facing inadequate education, a "freedom deficit," and economic stagnation.

"You have 22 countries [in the Middle East] that have a [gross domestic product] that is not the size of Spain," Rice said. "This is just not acceptable for a culture, the Arab cultures, that were in many ways part of the cradle of civilization. How can this be? And so the freedom deficit, the absence of freedom, has had very dramatic negative effects in this part of the world."

She said this has produced a level of helplessness that has led to a "virulent" hatred manifested through terrorism.

Turning to Iraq, Rice said the United States and Europe must work together to provide the security Iraq needs to develop its political institutions and economy.

(compiled from wire reports)

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