Pres. Bush's UN Speech ...Sept. 19, 2006
Tue Sep 19, 2006 14:37

Pres. Bush's UN Speech ...Sept. 19, 2006


NEW YORK — In an appeal to the people of the broader Middle East, President Bush said Tuesday that voice must be given to the hopes of decent people in the region who want a peaceful and prosperous future for their children, and denounced those who would exploit Islam as a propaganda tool.

"This propaganda is false and its purpose is to confuse you and justify acts of terror. We respect Islam, but we will protect our people from those who pervert Islam to sow death and destruction," Bush told diplomats attending the U.N. General Assembly.

In a speech to promote his freedom agenda, Bush said that the "enemies of humanity have continued their campaign of murder" five years after dozens of nations lost citizens in a terror attack that took place not far from where the diplomats were now sitting in New York City.

Bush referred to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and called the War on Terror a continuation of efforts that followed World War II and the creation of the international body to expand democracy and liberty to the world.

"At the start of the 21st century, it is clear that the world is engaged in an ideological struggle between extremists who use terror as a weapon to create fear and moderate people who work for peace," Bush told the 193-nation assembly.

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Bush said many positive changes have already occurred in the Middle East. Algeria has held its first competitive presidential election without military intervention; the United Arab Emirates announced that half of its parliamentary seats will be chosen by elections; Kuwait let women run and vote in recent elections; and other votes have occurred in municipal elections in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Bahrain and in multiparty presidential elections in Yemen and Egypt.

The president said the United States desires peace despite what extremists in the midst say. He said it is incumbent upon moderate leaders in Muslim nations to show their constituents that they can escape the "dismal choice" between misery and so-called martyrdom.

"We know that when people have a voice in their future, they are less likely to blow themselves up in suicide attacks," he said.

In a step-by-step appeal to Mideast nations, the president pledged ongoing commitment to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan and appealed directly to those who live within regimes like Iran and Syria.

"The greatest obstacle to the future is that your rulers have chosen to deny your liberty and to use your nation's resources to fund terrorism and fuel extremism and pursue nuclear weapons," Bush said of the Islamic Republic in Tehran.

Not in attendance at the speech was Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who will be delivering his own address to the world body later in the day. Ahmadinejad also skipped the luncheon for heads of state because alcohol is being served, and that is against his religious beliefs.

Saying the United States admires the rich history and vibrant culture as well Iran's contributions to civilization, Bush told the Iranian people that its government "must abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions."

"Despite what your regime tells you, we have no objection to Iran's pursuit of a truly peaceful nuclear power program," he said.

Prior to his formal remarks, Bush warned Iran to stop stalling on talks about its ceasing uranium enrichment activities, and said efforts by Tehran to hold off negotiations will lead to sanctions being discussed in the U.N. Security Council.

"We believe time is of the essence. Should they continue to stall, we will then discuss the consequences of their stalling, and one of the consequences, of course, is some kind of sanctions program," Bush said after meeting with French President Jacques Chirac.

Chirac had proposed that before Iran ceases its uranium enrichment program, the United States agree to enter into talks, which it has refused to do previously. But during questions from reporters, Chirac said the United States and France are on the same page when it comes to Iran, and share "common approaches and common sense of the main issues discussed."

"We can not have negotiations unless we have prior suspension on the one hand of uranium enrichment activities," Chirac said, adding that there has been no ambiguity on the matter.

"We share the same objective and we're going to continue to strategize together," Bush said, adding that EU officials will continue "to dialogue" with Iran, until an appropriate time for the United States to come to the table.

Separately, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told a morning news show that failure to confront Iran over its nuclear program will leave the world with a "credibility problem."

Back in Washington, D.C., Assistant Secretary of State Nicholas Burns pointed to other problems the United States says have been created by Iran. Burns told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Iran is the "central banker in Middle East terrorism" because of its funding and clear support for Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based terror group, and other organizations.

Burns said Iran has provided technology for improvised explosive devices to Shiite groups in Iraq to attack British and American soldiers there, and that senior Al Qaeda leadership figures fled to Iran from Afghanistan, where they are believed to be "able to operate" somewhat freely. He added the United States does not believe Al Qaeda leaders in Iran have been prosecuted or handed over to their native countries for prosecution.

At the General Assembly meeting, Bush called the situation in Darfur, Sudan, a "genocide," and while crediting the African Union for trying to keep the peace, he said it is not equipped to stop the violence. To help find a solution to the racial violence in the African nation, Bush said he was naming former U.S. Agency for International Development chief Andrew Natsios as a presidential special envoy "to lead America's efforts to help bring peace to your land."

In remarks on Iraq, the president praised the Iraqi people for their courage in going to the polls and electing a democratic government, and he pledged to continue helping the nation get international assistance and investment.

"We will continue to train those of you who step forward to fight the enemies of freedom. We will not yield the future of your country to terrorists and extremists," he added. "In return, your leaders must rise to the challenges your country is facing and make difficult choices to bring security and prosperity."

As for Lebanon, the president said the United Nations has passed "a good resolution" to establish an international force, led by France and Italy, to restore Lebanese sovereignty over the southern region that has been hostage to Hezbollah terrorists and used as a staging ground to attack Israel.

The president recommitted the United States to pursuing the roadmap for a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians.

"Israeli citizens have endured brutal acts of terrorism and constant fear of attacks," he said, adding that "many brave men and women have made the commitment to peace yet extremists have been stirring up hatred."

Bush said the Palestinian people earlier this year voted in a free election for Hamas, which campaigned on a platform of ending corruption and improving the lives of the Palestinian people. Now, it's up to Hamas to follow through with its pledge.

"The world has sent a clear message to the leaders of Hamas: Serve the interests of the Palestinian people, abandon terror, recognize Israel's right to exist, honor agreements that work for peace," he said, crediting President Mahmoud Abbas with pursuing a solution.

Bush said he was sending Rice to lead a diplomatic effort to engage moderate regional leaders to help the Palestinians reform their security services and join with Israel to resolve their differences. He added that Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt have already offered diplomatic and financial assistance to help these efforts.

"I'm optimistic that, by supporting the forces of democracy and moderation, we can help Israelis and Palestinians build a more hopeful future and achieve the peace in the Holy Land we all want," he said.,2933,214403,00.html

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