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The President's Radio Address

September 23, 2006

Good morning. This week, I traveled to New York City to address the United Nations General Assembly. In my speech to the leaders gathered there, I spoke about a more hopeful world that is within our reach, a world beyond terror, where ordinary men and women are free to determine their own destiny, where the voices of moderation are empowered, and where the extremists are marginalized by the peaceful majority.

I said that every nation must make a choice: We can support the moderates and reformers working for change across the broader Middle East, or we can yield the future to the terrorists and extremists. America has made its choice: We're standing with the moderates and reformers.

In New York, I met with two such leaders, President Talabani of Iraq and President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. In my meeting with President Talabani, I told him that America will continue to support Iraq's democratic Government as it makes the tough decisions necessary to bring security and prosperity to the Iraqi people. I assured President Talabani that America will not abandon the Iraqi people in their struggle to defeat the terrorists and build a free society in the heart of the Middle East.

In my meeting with President Abbas, I told him that America remains committed to the vision of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. President Abbas shares this goal. He's working hard to oppose violent extremists and build a society in which the Palestinian people can raise their children in peace and hope. By supporting moderate leaders such as President Abbas, the United States can help Israelis and Palestinians build a more hopeful future and achieve the peace we all want in the Holy Land.

Next week I will host a meeting at the White House with two courageous leaders, President Karzai of Afghanistan and President Musharraf of Pakistan. These two leaders are working to defeat the forces of terrorism and extremism. Under President Musharraf, Pakistan is siding with the forces of freedom and moderation and helping to defend the civilized world. Many Pakistani forces have given their lives in the fight against terrorists. President Musharraf understands the stakes in the war on terror because the extremists have tried more than once to assassinate him. They know he's a threat to their aspirations because he's working to build modern democratic institutions that could provide an alternative to radicalism. And it is in America's interest to help him succeed.

In Afghanistan, President Karzai continues the work of building a safer and brighter future for his nation. Today, forces from more than 40 countries, including members of the NATO alliance, are bravely serving side by side with Afghan forces. These forces are fighting the extremists who want to bring down the free Government that the people of Afghanistan have established. America and its allies will continue to stand with the people of Afghanistan as they defend their democratic gains. Working with President Karzai's Government, we will defeat the enemies of a free Afghanistan and help the Afghan people build a nation that will never again oppress them or be a safe haven for terrorists.

In the broader Middle East, the world faces a straightforward choice: We can allow that region to continue on the course it was headed before September the 11th, and a generation from now, our children will face a region dominated by terrorist states and radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons; or we can stop that from happening by confronting the ideology of hate and helping the people of the Middle East build a future of hope. All civilized nations, especially those in the Muslim world, are bound together in this struggle between moderation and extremism. By working together, we will roll back this grave threat to our way of life, we will help the people of the Middle East claim their freedom, and we will leave a safer and more hopeful world for our children and grandchildren.

Thank you for listening.

NOTE: The address was recorded at 7:50 a.m. on September 22 in the Cabinet Room at the White House for broadcast at 10:06 a.m. on September 23. The transcript was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary on September 22 but was embargoed for release until the broadcast. The Office of the Press Secretary also released a Spanish language transcript of this address.

George W. Bush, The President's Radio Address Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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