U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a speech to the Muslim world in the auditorium of the Cairo University campus in Cairo, Egypt, on June 4, 2009. (UPI Photo/SNP/Shinkichi Suzuki) | License Photo
CAIRO, June 4 (UPI) -- People who speak for democracy when they're on the outside must not abandon that principle once they're in power, U.S. President Barack Obama said in Cairo.
"(There) are some who advocate for democracy only when they are out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others," Obama said in his major speech to the Muslim world Thursday.
For governments to achieve democracy, leaders must "govern with respect for all their people," Obama said, and also recognize that "government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who hold power."
Promotion of democracy has come under fire in recent years, mainly because of the war in Iraq, Obama said.
"So let me be clear: No system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other," Obama said.
"That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people," including having the ability to speak out and have a say in how they're governed, confidence in the equal application of laws and justice, a government that is transparent, respect and "the freedom to live as you choose," he said.
Governments that protect these rights are more stable, successful and secure, Obama said.
"America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard around the world," the president said, "even if we disagree with them."