Minister urges Asians to aid U.S. in Iraq

June 4, 2004 at 3:40 AM
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SINGAPORE, June 4 (UPI) -- Singapore Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew in Tokyo Thursday urged East Asian nations to support U.S. efforts to bring stability back to Iraq.

"Let's try and help the Americans in whatever way we can to solve this problem, because if they get into serious trouble and cannot maintain the framework of security and stability in East Asia, we are in trouble," Lee said, speaking at a seminar on the future of Asia.

He said the United States must not fail in Iraq as it would have far-reaching implications for the stability and security on which East Asia depends for its prosperity, the Straits Times reported.

Lee noted that even U.S. Senator John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate, had not called for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.

Lee said the Americans "have got to establish some semblance of order and transfer authority to the Iraqis, then gradually withdraw and leave the Iraqis in charge."

But Lee also said he did not think the United States would be able to bring about democracy in Iraq. He noted that it took the United States more than 10 years to bring democracy to Japan after World War II, and similarly in the case of post-war Germany.

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