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Sec Rice With Civil Society Reps, Tbilisi, Georgia

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Tbilisi, Georgia
July 10, 2008

Remarks at Roundtable With Civil Society Representatives

SECRETARY RICE: I'd love to hear - and we'll go right back to Mr. Targamadze - let me just say one thing, if I may, which is that I'm really very pleased to have a chance to hear from all of you. I just said that democracy is absolutely necessary, not because human beings are perfect, but because they are imperfect. And because human beings are imperfect, no one has all the answers and that means there has to be room for many voices. Those many voices in a modern state need to have organized ways of expressing themselves. That can be through a free press. It can be through civil society. It can be through competitive elections and opposition. It can be through strong parliaments. And it all has to be protected by independent judicial institutions.

And so I do believe that there's a strong relationship between democracy at home and well-being abroad, responsibility and well-being abroad. And so as we are supporting Georgia in its quest of becoming a stronger democracy, I want you to know that the United States recognizes that it's not easy. It isn't built in a day, democracy. It takes time. The United States was a quite imperfect democracy when we began. I've often said that we had the birth defect of slavery. My ancestors were actually considered worthless and three-fifths of a person. And so it's not an easy process to go through. It's good to have a spirit and insistence on democratic processes.

So with that, I'd like to hear more from you. Why don't we just go back to hearing you.

Released on July 10, 2008


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