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Secretary Snow's Statement on
G8 Foreign Ministers Meeting on the G8
Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative

New York, September 24, 2004

U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow: Good morning; it's good to be with you today. I want to thank Secretary Colin Powell for hosting this meeting, and for his leadership at both the national and international levels. I'm honored to call him a colleague and friend. We are meeting at a time of challenge and promise – in the world and the region. I believe that the rewards for our work will be especially great.

This group has come together to respond to a call by President Bush and his colleagues in the G8 and the Broader Middle East and North Africa.  The President is anxious that we all work together for social, political and economic progress in the region. The key to that progress is greater economic and political freedom.

My involvement with your colleagues in the finance ministries and central banks is a reflection of the importance of economic progress to the overall initiative. The region wants economic progress and we in the United States and the entire G8 want to facilitate that progress.

Appropriately, the agenda for economic progress has been developed by the economic leaders of the region. It includes working to establish a greater reliance on markets, strengthening financial institutions, increasing trade, developing proposals to finance the growth of small- and medium-sized enterprises, and making the international financial institutions more effective in dealing with the development challenges in the region.

Economic opportunity is not just about material gain – it is about uplifting the spirit. Economic freedom generates motivation, initiative, opportunity, growth and jobs. And having a job means the same thing in any country, in any language: that you can provide for yourself and your loved ones. It is a cornerstone of individual liberty.

The promotion of economic freedom, opportunity and growth throughout the world will be a key topic at my meetings next weekend during the annual meetings in Washington of the IMF and World Bank. My G8 colleagues and I have met with our counterparts in the region to discuss strategies to advance these objectives. These meetings have provided a good foundation on which we can build. ;On October 1, next Friday, I will host a meeting of finance and other economic ministers from the G8 and Broader Middle East and North Africa region. Like today's meeting, we will help prepare for the Forum for the Future of this region, focusing on economic cooperation. I will report the results of today's meeting to finance ministers when we meet next week. We recognize the value of this dialogue and are anxious to continue our progress.

I look forward to the discussions and the good work that lies ahead. Thank you again for your dedication to economic freedom, and for having me here today.

Source: U.S. Treasury Department

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