print-only banner
The White House Skip Main Navigation
In Focus
News by Date
Federal Facts
West Wing

 Home > News & Policies > September 2008

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 23, 2008

Fact Sheet: Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century
President Bush Speaks To The United Nations General Assembly On Combating Terrorism
And The Conditions That Give Rise To It

     Fact sheet In Focus: Global Diplomacy

Today, President Bush addressed the United Nations General Assembly, highlighting how the United States has partnered closely with other nations to address global challenges. His visit to the UN highlights how the United States has partnered closely with other nations to address global challenges and how we have made remarkable progress. The trip also provides an opportunity to highlight how the UN can better address existing and emerging challenges.

The UN And Other Multilateral Organizations Must Continue To Actively Confront Terror

Multilateral organizations must take an unequivocal moral stand against terrorism. The vast majority of nations in the UN General Assembly now agree that tactics like suicide bombing, hostage-taking, and hijacking are never legitimate. The UN Security Council has passed resolutions declaring terror unlawful and requiring all nations to crack down on terrorist financing. Earlier this month, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon held a conference to highlight victims of terror, where he stated that terrorism can never be justified. At their Summit this year in Toyako, Japan, G-8 leaders declared that all terrorist acts are criminal and must be universally condemned.

  • The nations of the UN must continue to stand united in the fight against terror. Members of the UN are sharing intelligence with one another, conducting joint operations, and freezing terrorist finances. While terrorists continue to carry out attacks like the terrible bombing in Islamabad last week, we have spared our citizens from many devastating blows.

  • Over the past seven years, Afghanistan and Iraq have been transformed from regimes that actively sponsor terror to democracies that fight terror. Libya has renounced its support for terror and its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Nations such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are actively pursuing the terrorists. A few nations – regimes like Syria and Iran – continue to sponsor terror, yet their numbers are growing fewer, and they are growing more isolated from the world.

  • We must continue working to deny the terrorists refuge anywhere in the world, including in ungoverned spaces. We must remain vigilant against proliferation by fully implementing the terms of Security Council Resolution 1540 and enforcing sanctions against North Korea and Iran. Some suggest that these men would pose less of a threat if we would only leave them alone, but bringing terrorists to justice does not create terrorism – it is the best way to protect our people.

To Uphold The UN Charter's Promise Of Peace And Security In The 21st Century, We Must Confront The Ideology Of The Terrorists

The UN must challenge tyranny as vigorously as we challenge terror.Nations in the UN have supported the efforts of dissidents, reformers, and civil society advocates in newly free societies through the new UN Democracy Fund. As young democracies around the world continue to make brave stands for liberty, multilateral organizations like the UN must continue to stand with them.

  • In Afghanistan, a determined people are working to overcome decades of tyranny and protect their newly-free society. They have strong support from all 26 nations of the NATO Alliance. President Bush appreciates the UN's decision this week to renew the mandate for the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. The UN also has an active civilian presence in Afghanistan, where experts are doing important work helping to improve education, facilitate humanitarian aid, and protect human rights.

  • In Iraq, the fight has been difficult, yet daily life has improved thanks to a determined coalition of nations, the courage of the Iraqi people, and a surge of American troops. The UN has provided the mandate for multinational forces in Iraq through this December and is carrying out an ambitious strategy to strengthen Iraq's democracy, including helping Iraqis prepare for their next round of free elections. All should welcome this progress toward stability and peace – and we should stand united in helping Iraq's democracy succeed.

  • We must stand united in our support of the people of Georgia. The UN Charter sets forth the "equal rights of nations large and small." Russia's invasion of Georgia was a violation of those words. Young democracies around the world are watching to see how we handle this test.

  • We must stand united in our support of other young democracies. This includes the people of Lebanon struggling for full national sovereignty and true independence and the people of the Palestinian Territories, who deserve a free and peaceful state of their own.

Today, President and Mrs. Bush are also hosting a lunch for democracy dissidents to discuss how to advance the Freedom Agenda including the protection of universally recognized human rights for all people across the globe. The President has issued a National Security Presidential Directive to institutionalize his Freedom Agenda, offering a guidepost to future administrations of policies and practices to promote freedom and democratic institutions.

Extending The Reach Of Political Freedom Is Essential To Prevailing In The Great Struggle Of Our Time – But It Is Not Enough

Many in the UN have answered the call to help alleviate hopelessness by addressing its causes – poverty, disease, and ignorance. Over the years, many nations have made well-intentioned efforts to promote these goals. Yet the success of these efforts must be measured by more than intentions – it must be measured by results.

  • The United States has placed an insistence on results at the heart of our foreign assistance programs. Under President Bush, the United States has launched the Millennium Challenge Account, which directs our help to countries that demonstrate their ability to govern justly, pursue market-based economic policies, and invest in their people. We urge other donors, including the UN, to adopt a similar approach and insist on linking performance to assistance.

  • Lives in the developing world depend on these programs, and all who have made pledges to fight disease must follow through on their commitments. Through institutions like the UN and the Global Fund, many nations are working to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. To be most effective, development programs must be based on a model of partnership, not paternalism. This is the foundation of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief: Every nation that receives U.S. support through this initiative must develop its own plans for fighting HIV/AIDS. So far, the results are inspiring. Five years ago, only 50,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa were receiving treatment for HIV/AIDS. Today that number is nearly 1.7 million. We are taking a similar approach to fighting malaria – and so far, we have supported local efforts to protect more than 25 million Africans.

Today, President Bush is also attending a UN event on food security and combating global hunger. The U.S. is providing approximately $5.5 billion to fight global hunger in FY 2008 and 2009. Since mid-April, in response to President Bush's request for additional resources, Congress has provided $1.6 billion in new emergency and development assistance to combat the international food crisis. Including food aid resources from the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust, the total "new" money available for food security programming in FY 2008 and 2009 exceeds $1.8 billion.

Tomorrow, President Bush is participating in a meeting on free trade with leaders of Western Hemisphere nations. The leaders will launch the Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas initiative, which will provide a forum to work together to ensure the benefits of trade are broadly shared throughout societies, deepen the connections among regional markets, and expand cooperation on development issues. The President will stress the importance of congressional approval of the pending free trade agreements and of Western Hemisphere nations' working together to reach a successful Doha Round agreement as soon as possible.

In The 21st Century, The World Needs A Confident, Effective UN

The UN is an organization of extraordinary potential. As the UN rebuilds its headquarters, it must also open the door to a new age of transparency, accountability, and seriousness of purpose. Where there is inefficiency and corruption, it must be corrected. Where members fail to uphold their obligations, there must be strong action:

  • There should be an immediate review of the Human Rights Council, which has routinely protected violators of human rights.
  • There should be a stronger effort to help the people of Burma live free of the repression they have suffered for too long.
  • All nations, especially members of the Security Council, must act decisively to ensure that the government of Sudan upholds its commitment to address the violence in Darfur.