Tuesday, June 2, 2009

U.S. can't impose its values: President Obama

Updated at: 1054 PST, Tuesday, June 02, 2009

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama says the United States cannot "impose" its values on other nations but there are some universal values, including democracy.

In an interview with British channel prior to his upcoming trip to the Middle East and Europe, Obama said the rule of law; democracy and freedoms of speech and religion are universally accepted values.

"Part of what we want to affirm to the world is that these are values that are important even when it's hard, maybe especially when it's hard and not just when it's easy," he said.

Obama said the United States could set a positive example by closing the detainee center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and he said there were "obviously" human rights issues in the Middle Eastern countries.

"The danger, I think, is when the United States, or any country, thinks that we can simply impose these values on another country with a different history and a different culture," Obama said.

The president is scheduled to arrive in Saudi Arabia Wednesday and then travel Thursday to Egypt, where he is to deliver an address on relations between the United States and Middle East nations.

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