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Laura Bush Speaks To Arab World

U.S. First Lady Laura Bush took her husband's message directly to the Arab world Friday, saying in a rare interview with a pan-Arab satellite TV station that America supports the Arabs' pursuit of democracy.

"The people in the Middle East must realize that the United States and the American people support them and are working to build (for them) a free society, a society in which human rights are respected and governments respect their citizens' rights," Mrs. Bush said in the interview with the popular, Dubai-based Al-Arabiya.

The interview, conducted in the United States, was broadcast with an Arabic voice-over and the comments were translated into English by The Associated Press.

Laura Bush, who has been traveling around the United States speaking for President George W. Bush and attending political rallies in the run up to the presidential elections, said Arab women should also know that women in America "support and deeply appreciate them."

If Bush is re-elected in November, Mrs. Bush said the president will "continue to stand with the people of the Middle East as (they) try to build democracies in their countries."

"He will continue to stand by the Iraqi people and the people of Afghanistan. We will work to achieve peace. This is what we want," she said.

Mrs. Bush, a former teacher and school librarian, said that she had no wish to pursue a political career once she is no longer first lady and would rather continue her work as a teacher.

"I want to work with young people in intermediate and secondary schools and those children who emigrated to the United States and did not learn the English language ... we want to make sure that children have enough opportunities to go to universities," she said.