Bush to Ask Int. Community To Make World Safer
Bush to Ask International Community to Act to Make World Safer
National Security Advisor Rice previews Bush schedule at U.N.
By Wendy Ross
Washington File White House Correspondent
Washington -- President Bush, in his September 23 speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, will discuss many of the challenges the world faces today, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said in a September 22 briefing at the White House.
Bush, she said, "will call on the international community to take action to make our world a safer and better place. The president will stress the international community's opportunity and responsibility to help the people of Iraq and Afghanistan rebuild their countries. He will also discuss the many ways the world will benefit from an Iraq and Afghanistan that are free, prosperous, modern and democratic.
"The president will address the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the greatest security challenge of our time. He will outline current international efforts to stop the spread of dangerous weapons materials and technologies.
"The president will also discuss the ongoing need to address humanitarian crises, such as HIV/AIDS and famine, and he will call upon U.N. and member states to do everything possible to stop trafficking in persons, a modern-day form of slavery that claims millions of victims, many of them young children."
The president and first lady will arrive in New York the morning of September 23.
Bush will meet with U.N. General Assembly President Julian Robert Hunte of Saint Lucia and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan before addressing the General Assembly later in the morning.
After the speech, the president will hold a series of bilateral meetings with world leaders. Those include President Jose Maria Aznar of Spain, President Jacques Chirac of France, President Sukarnoputri Megawati of Indonesia, King Mohamed VI of Morocco, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan.
That evening, the president and Mrs. Bush will host a reception for the heads of delegations at New York's Museum of Natural History.
On Wednesday morning, September 24, the president will hold another series of meetings, including a Caribbean leaders breakfast with Prime Minister Perry Christie of the Bahamas, Prime Minister Keith Mitchell of Grenada, President Bharrat Jagdeo of Guyana, Prime Minister Kenny Davis Anthony of Saint Lucia, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of Germany, President John Agyekum Kufuor of Ghana, President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, President Joaquim Alberto Chissano of Mozambique, and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee of India.
Asked about U.S. plans for Iraq, Rice said "the most important thing" is that the transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqi people be orderly and that it be done in a way that it's going to work.
"This is a country that has been under brutal dictatorship for decades and for the last almost 30 years under the most brutal dictatorship imaginable. And it's a country that's not had a national conversation about its politics in more than 30 years. It's a country that needs an orderly process to get to the writing of a constitution, which, after all, will create the institutions on which a new society in Iraq can be based," she said.
"A constitution, after all, deals with issues like the rights and protections of minorities, the importance of the rights and protections of women. Those are the kinds of issues that get institutionalized in a constitution."
Rice said a plan suggested by J. Paul Bremer, the Coalition Provisional Authority administrator for Iraq, envisions "a constitution, followed then by elections and then by the transfer of sovereignty. And it makes perfectly good sense to do this as soon as possible, but to do it in a way that is responsible."
She said a proposal advanced by the French government "which would somehow try to transfer sovereignty to an unelected group of people, just isn't workable."
"[W]hat we want to do is we want to concentrate on the steps that need to be taken: national conversation, constitution, elections and transfer of sovereignty. Those are the steps that need to be taken. We'll see how long it takes. But I think everybody can be assured the establishment of sovereignty for the Iraqi people is the goal of everybody, most especially of the United States. But I think what you've heard from now a number of Iraqi voices is, 'Let's do that in an orderly way, so that it works.'"
The draft U.N. resolution on Iraq that the United States is working on with other countries "has to do what is best for the future of Iraq and for the future of the Iraqi people and frankly for the tremendous responsibilities that the United States and the coalition have taken on in liberating Iraq and now trying to deal with the reconstruction, " Rice said.
"So a resolution that gives a proper role to the United Nations, one like the president described, in which the United Nations will clearly play a vital role, is a good thing. But it cannot be something that tries to give premature sovereignty -- what, you know -- sort of sovereignty -- not real sovereignty, sovereignty in principle -- those ideas are just not going to work. We've got to have an orderly process."