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Foreign aid revamp rewards economic gain

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 22, 2010

UNITED NATIONS | Declaring that the U.S. is "changing the way we do business," President Obama outlined a new foreign-aid strategy Wednesday that seeks to reward developing countries that show progress on good governance and democracy.

With only five years left to meet the U.N.'s anti-poverty goals, Mr. Obama warned international leaders that they must spend their aid dollars more wisely by focusing on "broad-based economic growth" as the key to prosperity.

And he told them they must understand that aid is no longer just charity, but will require real leadership and responsibility from recipients.

"In other words, we’re making it clear that we will partner with countries that are willing to take the lead. Because the days when your development was dictated in foreign capitals must come to an end," Mr. Obama said, drawing applause.

But even while the U.S. tweaks the way it doles out assistance, Mr. Obama stressed the country will not abandon those in need.

"Let me be clear, the United States of America has been, and will remain, the global leader in providing assistance," he said. "We will not abandon those who depend on us for life-saving help. We keep our promises, and honor our commitments."

The president is in New York at the beginning of a three-day trip that will include bilateral meetings with world leaders and an address to the opening session of the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday.

On Wednesday he spoke to the Millennium Development Goals Summit, a set of objectives world leaders have agreed to try to reach for the developing world.

Mr. Obama also called for renewed effort on the Doha round of world trade talks, which have stalled in disputes between major economies over the levels of openness in developing countries and subsidies doled out in developed economies.

The president said any agreement must be "ambitious and balanced — one that works not just for major emerging economies, but for all economies."

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