Clinton urges 'common global consciousness ...'

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Monday, January 21, 2002 - Web posted at 10:49:52 am GMT

Clinton urges 'common global consciousness ...'

JEDDAH - Former US president Bill Clinton issued an impassioned appeal here on Sunday for the creation of a "global political society" that is tolerant of differences and will combat terror.

He also called on Washington to reach out to the world, and urged Muslims to change school curricula to end what he called "indoctrination" within the education system.

We have to create a "global political society in which everyone is free to worship God as they like and be free to disagree", Clinton said in a keynote address to the three-day Jeddah Economic Forum, which opened on Saturday.

"But no one takes out a bomb or a bullet against someone with whom he may have a difference," Clinton asserted as he spoke about the consequences of the September 11 terror attacks on the world.

Clinton said the attacks on New York and Washington were "shocking to America because too many people died, and we were shocked by the amount of hatred it took the terrorists to kill innocents".

The attacks also showed a "shocking growth of intolerance and extremism, the marriage of ancient hatred with religion and race".

"The terrorists tried to build the walls that we worked so hard to tear down," Clinton said and urged world countries to "continue to open up their borders."

Speaking before hundreds of Saudi and American businessmen, Clinton said what happened on "September 11 reflects the dark side of the age of interdependence".

He said the attacks also showed that wealthy countries must do more to help developing and poor states overcome the negative aspects of globalisation.

"Wealthy countries must do more and spread the benefits to the poor. It requires all of us to build a common global consciousness ... common humanity matters more," Clinton said.

The US administration should "do a better job and listen to Muslims ... who thought that before September 11 the US was insensitive to their needs, hostile to their values, beliefs and economic interests."

Clinton said he was encouraged by people in the region speaking out against terrorism, citing the examples of the Saudi imam of the Grand Mosque and the head of Egypt's Al-Azhar university.

"We see people speaking out against terror ... this must also extend to the school. You have to help us end that kind of indoctrination and provide an education to the children," the former president said.

"Much of the fuel for the terrorism fire will be put out" if a just solution is reached for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

But he stressed that "violence must end, terror must stop and the suicide bombings must cease" in order to return to negotiations. - Nampa-AFP


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