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Fact Sheet: Address to the UN General Assembly: A More Hopeful World Beyond Terror and Extremism

September 19, 2006

Today, The President Addressed The United Nations General Assembly And Spoke About A More Hopeful World Beyond Terror And Extremism - Where Ordinary Men And Women Are Free To Determine Their Own Destiny, The Voices Of Moderation Are Empowered, And The Extremists Are Marginalized By The Peaceful Majority. President Bush believes this more hopeful world can be ours if we seek it and work together. At the start of the 21st century, it is clear that the world is engaged in a great ideological struggle between extremists who use terror as a weapon to create fear, and moderate people everywhere who are working for peace.

We Are Seeing A Bright Future Begin To Take Root In The Broader Middle East. The principles animating this future can be found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights' statement that the "equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world." In the nearly six decades since that document was approved, we have seen the forces of freedom and moderation transform entire continents.

  • Some Of The Changes In The Broader Middle East Have Been Dramatic - More Than 50 Million People Have Been Given A Voice In The UN For The First Time In Decades. Afghanistan's seat in the UN is now held by the freely elected government of Afghanistan. Iraq's seat in the UN is now held by a democratic government that embodies the aspirations of the Iraqi people.

  • Some Of The Changes In The Middle East Are Happening Gradually, But These Changes Are Real. Algeria has held its first competitive presidential election, and the military remained neutral. The United Arab Emirates recently announced that half the seats in its Federal National Council will be chosen by elections. Kuwait held elections in which women were allowed to vote and run for office for the first time. Citizens have voted in municipal elections in Saudi Arabia, in parliamentary elections in Jordan and Bahrain, and in multiparty presidential elections in Yemen and Egypt.

Some Have Argued That These Democratic Changes Are Destabilizing The Middle East - But The Stability We Thought We Saw In The Middle East Was A Mirage. For decades, millions of men and women in this region have been trapped in oppression and hopelessness. These conditions left a generation disillusioned and made the region a breeding ground for extremism.

Every Civilized Nation - Including Those In The Muslim World - Must Support Those In The Region Who Are Offering A More Hopeful Alternative. We must seek true stability through a free and just Middle East where the extremists are marginalized by millions of citizens in control of their own destinies.

The President Spoke Directly To People Across The Broader Middle East: America Desires Peace

  • To The People Of Iraq: We Will Not Abandon You. Nearly 12 million Iraqis braved the car bombers and assassins last December to vote in free elections, and we will not abandon you in your struggle to build a free nation. America and its Coalition partners will continue to stand with Iraq's democratic government, help secure the international assistance and investment Iraq needs to create jobs and opportunity, and train Iraqis who have stepped forward to fight the enemies of freedom. In return, Iraq's leaders must make the difficult choices to bring security and prosperity.

  • To The People Of Afghanistan: We Will Help You Defeat The Extremists Who Want To Destroy Afghanistan's Young Democracy. Since overthrowing the Taliban, Afghanistan has chosen its leaders in free elections and built a democratic government. Today, forces from more than 40 countries - including members of the NATO Alliance - are bravely serving side by side with the people of Afghanistan against the extremists. We will help you defeat these enemies and build a free Afghanistan that will never again oppress you or be a safe haven for terrorists.

  • To The People Of Lebanon: We See Your Suffering, And The World Is Helping You Rebuild Your Country And Deal With The Armed Extremists Who Are Undermining Your Democracy By Acting As A State Within A State. Last year, the people of Lebanon inspired the world when they drove Syrian forces from their country and re-established democracy. Since then, they have been tested by the fighting that began with Hezbollah's unprovoked attacks on Israel. The UN has passed a good resolution that has authorized an international force, led by France and Italy, to help restore Lebanese sovereignty over Lebanese soil. For many years, Lebanon was a model of democracy, pluralism, and openness in the region - and it will be again.

  • To The People Of Iran: The United States Respects You And Your Country. The greatest obstacle to a better future for Iran is that its rulers have chosen to deny the people of Iran liberty and use their nation's resources to fund terrorists, fuel extremism, and pursue nuclear weapons. The UN has passed a clear resolution requiring that the regime in Tehran meet its international obligations. Iran must abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions. The world has no objection to Iran's pursuit of a truly peaceful nuclear power program. We are working toward a diplomatic solution to this crisis, and we look to the day when the people of Iran can live in freedom - and America and Iran can be good friends and close partners in the cause of peace.

  • To The People Of Syria: Your Government Must Choose A Better Way Forward. Syria is home to a great people with a proud tradition of learning and commerce. Today, Syria's rulers have allowed the country to become a crossroad for terrorists, and are turning the country into a tool of Iran, increasing Syria's isolation from the world. Syria's government can stop this growing isolation and create a more hopeful future for its country by ending its support for terror, living in peace with its neighbors, and opening the way to a better life for the Syrian people.

  • To The People Of Darfur: You Have Suffered Unspeakable Violence, And America Has Called These Atrocities What They Are - Genocide. For the last two years, America has joined with the international community to provide emergency food aid and support an African Union peacekeeping force. Yet the suffering continues. The Security Council has approved a resolution that would transform the African Union force into a blue-helmeted force that is larger and more robust, but the regime in Khartoum is stopping the deployment of this force. If the Sudanese government does not approve this peacekeeping force quickly, the UN must act. Today, President Bush announced he is naming former USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios as a Presidential Special Envoy to lead America's efforts to resolve the outstanding disputes and help bring peace to Darfur.

The World Must Stand Up For Peace In The Holy Land

By Supporting The Forces Of Democracy And Moderation, The World Can Help Israelis And Palestinians Build A More Hopeful Future And Achieve Peace In The Holy Land.

  • President Bush Is Committed To Two Democratic States - Israel And Palestine - Living Side By Side In Peace And Security. President Abbas is committed to peace and to his people's aspirations for a state of their own. Prime Minister Olmert is also committed to peace and has said he intends to meet with President Abbas to make real progress on the outstanding issues between them.

  • Earlier This Year, The Leaders Of Hamas Were Elected On A Platform Of Ending Corruption And Improving The Lives Of The Palestinian People. The world has sent a clear message to the leaders of Hamas: Serve the interests of the Palestinian people, abandon terror, recognize Israel, honor agreements, and work for peace.

  • The President Has Directed Secretary Of State Rice To Lead A Diplomatic Effort To Engage Moderate Leaders Across The Region, Help The Palestinians Reform Their Security Services, And Support Israeli And Palestinian Leaders In Their Efforts To Come Together To Resolve Their Differences. Prime Minister Blair has indicated that his country will work with partners in Europe to help strengthen the governing institutions of an effective Palestinian administration. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt have made clear they are willing to contribute the diplomatic and financial assistance necessary to help these efforts succeed.

Freedom, By Its Nature, Cannot Be Imposed - It Must Be Chosen

The World Must Choose Between Supporting The Moderates And Reformers Working For Change Across The Middle East - Or Yielding The Future To The Terrorists And Extremists. America has made its choice: we will stand with the moderates and reformers. Together we will support the dreams of good and decent people who are working to transform a troubled region - and by doing so, we will advance the high ideals on which the UN was founded.

George W. Bush, Fact Sheet: Address to the UN General Assembly: A More Hopeful World Beyond Terror and Extremism Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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