United Nations – Hello again from New York. I spent most of today following the President’s busy schedule, which required me to run quickly (and in heels!) to keep up.
In his speech to the 192 nations of the General Assembly, President Bush reminded his listeners of the promise the United Nations has made – through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights– to defend people everywhere from tyranny, hunger, disease, illiteracy, and poverty. The President called on all Member States to take action to defend the peoples of the world against these scourges. President Bush focused on the continued oppression of the people of Burma, announcing U.S. plans to tighten economic sanctions on individuals who lead or financially support the regime, as well as those responsible for human rights violations. The President also condemned the governments of Iran, Syria, Zimbabwe, and Cuba for their mistreatment of their own people.
The President then met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. In that meeting, President Bush emphasized the importance of adopting outstanding laws to advance the political reconciliation process in Iraq. The two leaders also talked about defining a strategic relationship between our two countries over the long term.
In the afternoon, the President attended a Roundtable on Democracy, where he and other heads of state talked about concrete ways for democratic countries to work together to promote democracy throughout the world.
President Bush went then to a meeting of the UN Security Council on Africa, chaired by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The President called forcefully for international action to stop the genocide in Darfur, including a rapid transition to the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force, an agreement to a cease-fire by all parties, and an end to arms sales to all combatants.
Tomorrow promises to be another full day in New York, and I’ll check in with you again in the evening.