Accessibility links

Bush Focuses on Expansion of Freedom and Fight Against Poverty - 2004-09-20


President Bush spends Tuesday at the United Nations in New York, where he'll address the new General Assembly and meet a parade of world leaders. While not ignoring troubles in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mr. Bush will focus on U.S. efforts to combat poverty and disease.

Mr. Bush's General Assembly message last year was devoted almost entirely to a defense of U.S. policy toward Iraq and the war on terrorism. And while he will not ignore those issues in Tuesday's address, aides says he intends to focus on the compassionate side of U.S. foreign policy and offer new proposals to expand global prosperity and freedom.

The President gave a preview of the U.N. policy speech in his weekly radio address Saturday, saying the United States will not back down in confronting terrorism, but is determined to spread hope and economic progress as alternatives to hatred, resentment and violence.

Mr. Bush did not give any details of new initiatives but stressed the leading U.S. role in combating AIDS, with $15 billion pledged to that effort over five years, and his administration's effort to focus bilateral development aid on countries committed to economic reform and fighting corruption.

President Bush can be expected to stress U.S. hopes for the elections set for next month in Afghanistan and planned for January in Iraq as defining moments in those countries' political future. He made clear in the Saturday radio message the United States is prepared to stand by both governments in the face of anticipated efforts by insurgents to wreck the electoral process.

"Terrorist enemies are trying to stop the progress of both these countries, and their violent and merciless attacks may increase as elections draw near," he said. "But the world can be certain: America and her allies will keep their commitments to the Afghan and Iraqi people. Our long-term security, the safety or our children and grandchildren, will be served when the broader Middle East is home to stable, democratic governments that fight terror."

Mr. Bush is to have bilateral meetings after the U.N. speech with, among others, Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The meeting with Mr. Karzai will be followed by a three-way meeting involving, President Bush, Mr. Karzai and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

U.S. officials have credited Pakistan with effective efforts against al-Qaida terrorists operating from the border area with Afghanistan, but have made clear they would like to see a stronger action by Pakistan against remnants of Afghanistan's former Taleban regime using the same area as a staging ground for cross-border attacks.

Secretary of State Colin Powell joins Mr. Bush in the schedule of bilateral meetings due to conclude with a breakfast session with President Musharraf Wednesday morning.

Mr. Powell will spend the remainder of the week in his own set of diplomatic contacts in New York including the first senior-level meeting in several months on Wednesday afternoon of the international Quartet on Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, involving the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.

XS
SM
MD
LG