President Bush heads to New York today to attend the United Nations General Assembly where he will focus on helping to strengthen emerging democracies in the Middle East.

Aides say Mr. Bush's address to the assembly on Tuesday will focus on the need to advance democracy in the Middle East and strengthen existing democracies in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority.

In keeping with his theme of supporting democracies, President Bush will meet Monday with the leaders from Malaysia, El Salvador, Honduras and Tanzania.

Later in the week he is to meet with the Palestinian and Iraqi presidents and discuss Iran's nuclear program with the president of France.

French President Jacques Chirac is the only other leader from the U.N. Security Council's five permanent members attending this year's assembly.

The two-week annual U.N. General Assembly brings together leaders and senior representatives from all of the organization's 192 members.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.