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Bush praises UAE in his Middle East signature speech
Source: BI-ME and agencies , Author: BI-ME staff
Posted: Sun January 13, 2008 12:00 am

UAE. American President George W Bush made they key speech of his Middle East tour in Abu Dhabi, praising the UAE as a model of the Muslim state in an address titled 'Power is a trust'.

The United Arab Emirates have shown the world a model of the Muslim state that is tolerant towards its people and other faiths, said President Bush.

The UAE founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, has succeeded in building a country and a proseprous society out of the desert, said Bush in his speech at Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi where he started Sunday his visit to the UAE.

"You have encouraged your women to contribute to the development of your nation and they have occupied some of the highest ministerial posts", Bush said to the high-profile audience which included the UAE President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Th president spoke about the great new era that is unfolding, founded on the equality of all people before God. This new era offers hope for the millions across the Middle East who seek a future of peace, progress, and opportunity. Unfortunately, these aspirations for liberty and justice are being threatened by extremists who murder the innocent in pursuit of power, he said.

One cause of instability is the extremism supported and embodied by the regime in Tehran. Iran is today the world's leading state sponsor of terror. It undermines Lebanese hopes for peace by arming and aiding the terrorist group Hezbollah. It subverts the hopes for peace in other parts of the region by funding terrorist groups like Hamas and the Palestine Islamic Jihad. It sends arms to the Taliban in Afghanistan and Shia militants in Iraq. It seeks to intimidate its neighbors with ballistic missiles and bellicose rhetoric. And finally, it defies the United Nations and destabilises the region by refusing to be open and transparent about its nuclear programmes and ambitions.

Bush said Iran's actions threaten the security of nations everywhere, so the United States is strengthening its longstanding security commitments with its friends in the Gulf, and rallying friends around the world to confront this danger before it is too late. The other major cause of instability is the extremism and violence embodied by Al Qaeda and its affiliates, he said.

The United States will be a partner in building a Middle East that is growing in peace and prosperity. The United States has no desire for territory. "we seek our shared security in liberty in the Middle East," he said. "We believe that stability can only come through a free and just Middle East, where the extremists are marginalised by millions of parents who want the same opportunities for their children that we have for ours."

President Bush said leaders across the Middle East are beginning to respond to the desires of their people and taking steps that will help enhance the stability and prosperity of their nations. Free and just societies create opportunity for their citizens, and the United States is encouraged by the movement toward economic freedom across the Middle East. He listed some historic changes going on in the region.

The World Bank reports that economic growth is strong and rising in the region. Saudi Arabia has joined the World Trade Organization. Jordan, Oman, Bahrain, and Morocco have signed free trade agreements with the United States.

"Unfortunately, amid some steps forward in this region, we have also seen some setbacks," said the president. "For example, opposition candidates, peaceful protesters, democracy, and human rights advocates and regime critics have been harassed, abused and/or imprisoned and denied their right to exercise many universally recognized human rights. Peaceful protestors have been jailed, and citizens have not been allowed to voice legitimate criticism."

He said that America Is using Its influence to foster peace and reconciliation In the Holy Land. Today, Israelis and Palestinians each understand that the only way to realise their own goals is by helping one another. An independent, viable, democratic, and peaceful Palestinian state is more than the aspiration of Palestinians. It is also the best guarantee of peace for all its neighbours, and the Israelis understand this.

"America will do our part, " Bush said. "By supporting the legitimate aspirations of both sides, we will encourage reconciliation between the Israeli and Palestinian people and between Israelis and Arabs, and build a foundation for lasting peace that will contribute to the security of every state in the region.

President Bush used his remarks to speak directly to the people of the Middle East. He reiterated his support for Palestinians' aspirations for a state of their own, and urged the Palestinian people to oppose the extremists and terrorists who represent the greatest threat to those aspirations. He pledged that the United States will help the Palestinian people build the institutions of democracy and prosperity.

The president also reiterated that the United States will always stand with Israel in the face of terrorism and support it as it works to ensure the security of its people.

The president said the United States will stand with leaders across the Middle East as they confront terrorists and radicals. He said the United States urges these leaders to: join in committing the resources to help the Palestinians build the institutions of a free society; to help the citizens of Lebanon preserve their government and their sovereignty in the face of outside pressure; and to show the Iraqis that they support them in their effort to build a more hopeful nation.

Bush dubbed the elelctions to the UAE Federal National Council as historic. "The UAE's first-ever indirect election for 20 Federal National Council members represents an effort, that we hope will continue, to make its government more modern and more representative," he said.

Bush noted that Kuwait held elections in which women were allowed to vote and hold office for the first time. Citizens have voted in a municipal election in Saudi Arabia; in competitive parliamentary elections in Jordan, Morocco, and Bahrain, and in multiparty presidential elections in Yemen.

The US president attacked extremists who he said "have hijacked Islam and who hate your government and the United States." Bush said the United States believes it is necessary for governments in the Middle East to open their economies and boost liberty and tolerence.

He criticized Iran for supporting Hezbollah, Hamas, Jihad and Taliban, Al Qaeda and its affiliates and extremist Shiites in Iraq which he said are spreading fear and destabilising the region and security in the respective countries, Bush said.

Extremists, he added, "hate freedom and equality, they hate this government because they do not hold the same extremist religious views." He added that Taliban rules by intimidation and murder and is attempt acquiring weapons of mass destruction.

"Iran is destabilising the region by refusing to open the nuclear programme to scrutiny," stressed Bush.

"Reconciliation with your neighbours is the key to long-term peace in the region", said the US President who called for religious tolerance and coexistence among Sunnis and Shiites.

When Iran embraces liberty and democracy, it will not find a better friend than the United States, stressed the US leader.



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