Daily Star Newspaper
Beirut, Lebanon
By Khalil Fleihan
Saturday, April 17, 2004

US committed to 'democratic, free Lebanon'
American official reiterates official policy toward country


Walid Maalouf, the recently appointed director of public diplomacy for the Middle Eastern and Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Affairs within USAID's Bureau of Legislative and Public Affairs reiterated US policy toward a free and democratic Lebanon .

Speaking at a dinner organized in his honor by the World Lebanese Cultural Union (WLCU) - Boston Chapter last week, Maalouf, who is of Lebanese ancestry, assured the audience that President George W. Bush remained committed to the democratization of the Middle East and to regaining the independence of Lebanon.

Maalouf was appointed Alternate Representative of the US to the 58th UN General Assembly last September. He was a member of the Middle East team at the US mission and the first US representative to address the UN in Arabic.

Prior to these two presidential appointments, Maalouf was an experienced international banker in the greater Washington , D.C. area for 14 years and was active in the international community.

In a speech entitled "The UN and the Revitalization of Lebanon's Democracy," Maalouf related his experience at the UN and touched on American policy in the Middle East . Maalouf reiterated President Bush's pledge for the democratization of the Middle East and to a free and independent Lebanon , the release added. Earlier in his speech, Maalouf pointed out that President Bush had spoken about democracy in the Middle East in more than five or six major speeches. "He is consistent in his approach and determined to succeed in this major change in policy toward that region. Make no mistake about it," Maalouf said