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Bush, in UN Farewell, Gives Reassurance on US Economy


President Bush, in what in all likelihood was his final U.N. address, assured the General Assembly his administration and Congress will act to deal with the U.S. financial crisis. Mr. Bush also urged the world community to stand united against terrorism and nuclear weapons proliferation. VOA's David Gollust reports from our U.N. Bureau.

Mr. Bush's policy speech to the General Assembly was dominated by the same anti-terrorism theme that has marked his U.N. messages since the 2001 attacks against the United States.

But with the financial crisis looming over New York's Wall Street just a few kilometers away, the president assured the world community his administration is determined to tackle the economic instability that has already had major spillover effects around the world.

"Last week, I announced decisive action by the federal government to address the root cause of much of the instability in our financial markets by purchasing illiquid assets that are weighing down balance sheets and restricting the flow of credit," President Bush said. "I can assure you that my administration and our Congress are working together to quickly pass legislation approving this strategy. And I am confident we will act in the urgent time frame required."

On terrorism, Mr. Bush said the United Nations and other world organizations need to focus on preventive action rather than decrying acts of terror in resolutions after they occur. He challenged the notion of treating all forms of government as equally tolerable, and said the global community must actively challenge conditions of tyranny and despair that allow terror and extremism to thrive.

"Multi-lateral organizations must respond by taking an unequivocal moral stand against terrorism," he said. "No cause can justify the deliberate taking of innocent life. And the international community is nearing universal agreement on this truth. The vast majority of nations in this assembly now agree that tactics like suicide bombing, hostage taking and hijacking are never legitimate."

Mr. Bush said whatever disagreements countries may have had over the U.S.-led intervention in Iraq in 2003, they should all welcome recent progress there toward stability and peace and stand united in helping Iraqi democracy succeed.

He similarly urged support for efforts for democratic development in Afghanistan, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Ukraine and Liberia, among others, and called for solidarity with the people of Georgia, where he said the Russian invasion in August had violated U.N. founding principles.

"The United Nations Charter sets forth the equal rights of nations large and small," said President Bush. "Russia's invasion of Georgia was a violation of those words. Young democracies around the world are watching to see how we respond to this test. The United States has worked with allies in multi-lateral institutions like the European Union and NATO to uphold Georgia's territorial integrity and provide humanitarian relief, and our nations will continue to support Georgia's democracy."

Mr. Bush stressed the multi-billion dollar U.S. efforts during his tenure to fight HIV/AIDS and Malaria in Africa and elsewhere, and urged other countries to fulfill pledges to the United Nations and the Global Fund to combat the diseases.

He also urged renewed efforts to break down global trade barriers, saying the recent impasse at the Doha round of world tariff-cutting negotiations is disappointing, but said it does not have to be the final word.

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