ATLANTA (AP) — Former President Jimmy Carter says the United States cannot "abandon" its emphasis on human rights as a "key element" of foreign policy.
Carter warns that such a move would tell abusive governments "it's OK for us to do it now."
Carter made his remarks Monday during a human rights conference at his presidential library in Atlanta. His comments came days after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson outlined President Donald Trump's "America First" policy.
Tillerson told diplomats the U.S. would emphasize its "values" but not necessarily require other governments to practice them as a condition of an alliance. Tillerson said mandates can make it harder for the U.S. to achieve its economic and security interests.
Carter told activists Monday that "the best way to have a secure country is to honor human rights."