US ex-officials want good US relations with Islam

September 24, 2008 01:49


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The next US president should speak out for better relations with the Muslim world in his inaugural address and pursue an accord between Israel and the Palestinians within three months of taking office, a diverse coalition of 34 former US officials and civic leaders said in a report being issued Wednesday. The proposals, which include diplomatic engagement with Iran, are designed to reverse Muslim extremism and enhance US international security. They are based on the conclusion that improving US relations with Muslim countries and communities is critical, the report said. Also, it said, the new president should reaffirm immediately a US commitment to prohibit all forms of torture. On promoting democracy among the Arabs, a hallmark of President George W. Bush's foreign policy, the report envisioned a cautious role for the United States: improving governance and civic participation without imposing a particular set of institutions, parties or leaders. Bush's war on terror, the report said, has been inadequate and sometimes counterproductive. It recommends "partnership" with Muslims committed to nonviolent political and economic development to reverse extremism and promote reform within authoritarian governments.

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