In his valedictory address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, President George W. Bush portrayed a world of cooperation between democracies that could successfully oppose the threat of terror and fuel prosperity.
Terrorism was the centerpiece of President Bush`s speech. He praised the United Nations for what it had achieved in the last eight years, but demanded further actions as extremists were still dangerous. "By deliberately murdering the innocent to advance their aims, these extremists defy the fundamental principles of international order," said the president. "Instead of only passing resolutions decrying terrorist attacks after they occur, we must cooperate more closely to keep terrorist attacks from happening in the first place," he added.
The president listed Afghanistan and Iraq as meritorious examples of his successful foreign policy. "Over the past seven years, Afghanistan and Iraq have been transformed from regimes that actively sponsor terror to democracies that fight terror," said Bush. Although the president acknowledged that "he fight has been difficult," he presented an optimistic picture of both countries` future. In a passage on Iraq, Bush said: "Whatever disagreements our nations have had on Iraq, we should all welcome this progress toward stability and peace - and we should stand united in helping Iraq`s democracy succeed."
Bush did not forget to praise Libya, which has recently adopted a pro-American line in its foreign policy. "Libya has renounced its support for terror and its pursuit of nuclear weapons," the president told the representatives of over one hundred nations. Even though, said Bush, several countries, such as Iran and Syria, continued to sponsor terror, "their numbers are growing more isolated from the world." According to the American president, only the concerted action of all UN members would effectively reduce the threat those states posed.
President Bush presented himself as a staunch supporter of young democracies in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. The United Nations, urged the president, must not shy away from providing equal rights of nations large and small. In an explicit reference to the recent conflict between Georgia and Russia, Bush sided himself with the former. "The United States has worked with allies in multinational institutions like the European Union and NATO to uphold Georgia`s territorial integrity and provide humanitarian relief," said the president. "Our nations will continue to support Georgia`s democracy."
Bush devoted surprisingly little space to the problem of an independent Palestine. "We must stand united in our support of other young democracies from the people of Lebanon [...] to the people of the PalestineTerritories, who deserve a free and peaceful state of their own," said the president. The creation of an independent Palestine and a permanent peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors was Bush`s top priority when he moved into the White House in 2001.
Many times in his speech, President Bush invoked the events from 65 years ago when the Allied states created the United Nations. He said that among the factors that made their work so effective, an "unshakable unity of determination" was the most important. "Together, we can build a world that is freer, safer, and better for the generations who follow," Bush concluded.
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