Deputy Assistant Tamara C. Wittes for Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and Deputy Special Coordinator for Middle East Transitions today stressed that the United States is committed to championing women’s full participation in the new democracies now emerging, and in the reforms that are underway across the Arab region.
In her testimony before Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Ms. Wittes acknowledged the achievements of the women who were invited to testify in the next panel.
“Women have been at the forefront of the revolutions across the region, and I am grateful to hear their perspectives. The Administration’s whole-of-government approach demonstrates our belief that the women of Egypt, Tunisia and Libya are essential partners in any successful transition.” -Ms. Wittes
She highlighted that the democratic transitions underway in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and the pressures for democratic change across the region, present a great strategic opportunity for the United States, for three reasons.
“The first reason is stability, which is crucial to the pursuit of all our longstanding interests in the Middle East. The dramatic events of this spring were driven by deep, underlying trends in Arab societies.” -Ms. Witted
She pointed out that the American government sees an opportunity in the events of the Arab Spring is about democracy. She stressed that where democracy and democratic freedoms are valued, the world also gains in security. She added that democracies give people a stake in their governance and weaken the appeal of those who call for violence.
“We see the changes underway in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt as an opportunity to support the emergence of more democratic states, which will be stronger partners for the United States in advancing our shared interests in security, stability, and prosperity for the region and the world.” – Ms. Wittes
She also noted that the American government sees a strategic opportunity in the events because of the way the change has come about, and who is driving it – the Arab world’s rising generation of young people. She explianed that the disciplined and determined young men and women who are driving the Arab Spring have put forward a powerful repudiation to the narrative of extremists who preach violence and confrontation as the only means to achieve change.
“The recent announcement of three courageous women receiving the Nobel Peace Prize is the latest affirmation of women’s ability to advance human progress and human rights in the region and around the world.” -Ms. Wittes
She reiterated Secretary Clinton’s tatement that the three winners – including one from Yemen – “are shining examples of the difference that women can make and the progress they can help achieve when given the opportunity to make decisions about the future of their societies and countries.”