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Bush to Emphasize Freedom at U.N.

( [email protected] ) Sep 25, 2007 10:28 AM EDT
President Bush wants the United Nation to fight for freedom in lands of poverty and terror as it had promised to do upon its founding more than six decades ago.
President Bush waves as he steps off Air Force One upon landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Monday, Sept. 24, 2007, as he arrived for the United Nations General Assembly. (Photo: AP Images / Charles Dharapak)

President Bush wants the United Nation to fight for freedom in lands of poverty and terror as it had promised to do upon its founding more than six decades ago.

In his speech Tuesday, Bush was expected to cite to the U.N. General Assembly a list of countries where people lack freedoms and live in fear. The president was also expected to announce new visa restrictions and financial sanctions against the military regime in Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar and those who provide it financial aid, according to The Associated Press.

The announcement comes a day after Myanmar's military government issued a threat to the Buddhist monks who led 100,000 people marching through the major city of Yangon. It was the strongest protest against the regime in two decades.

The president is "going to talk about the importance of continuing to support the humanitarian organizations that are trying to deal with the needs of the people of Burma on the ground," said Steve Hadley, Bush's national security adviser, referring to Myanmar by its old name.

"And he will call for the United Nations and for other countries there to do all they can to support a process of political change in Burma," he told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to New York.

"Our hope is to marry that internal pressure with the external pressure coming from the United States and the United Nations and really all countries that are committed to freedom to try to force the regime into a change," Hadley added.

At the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday morning, Bush planned to call on the United Nations to take up a "mission of liberation," posing a challenge to the international body to uphold its original goal of ensuring freedom in many forms – from tyranny, disease, illiteracy and poverty.

He also was expected to lean heavily on the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights, approved more than 50 years ago, AP reported.

The president’s aim is to remind the body that the expansion of freedom is not a Western goal but rather one that underpins the United Nations itself.

His speech, said White House spokesman Dana Perino, is about "upholding the promise of the U.N. founding." Bush aides say that by design, the address will stick to broad themes.

According to AP, Bush later will participate in a round-table on democracy, take part in a U.N. Security Council session on crisis in Africa, host a reception, and attend a dinner of leaders.

He had spent Monday trying to add some life to the Mideast peace process.