Bush warns gulf States of Iran 'threat'

Sunday, January 13, 2008

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In a speech in Abu Dhabi today, George W. Bush said that he considered Iran a threat to the stability in the Middle East. He said that he believes the government of Iran is supporting extremism. In the speech he also addressed the people of other countries in the Middle East in a speech that appears to be designed to persuade leaders in the Middle East to support his negotiations.

George Bush making the speech today

He also said that Iran is the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism, listing Tehran's support for extremists in Iraq, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories.

President Bush added that he believes Iran "sends hundreds of millions of dollars to extremists around the world, while its own people face repression and hardship at home," .

Bush told Iran's neighbors that the kind of extremism embraced by the government in Iran stands in opposition to their hopes for a better future for the Middle East.

He said Iran provides a vivid contrast to other countries in the region that are moving toward greater freedom and openness to the world. He said no one should doubt America's commitment to help those leaders who embrace change, pointing to the assistance the United States gave nations in Asia and Europe devastated during World War Two.

Mr. Bush continued, saying that "the United States has no desire for territory." He also said that he believes "stability can only come through a free and just Middle East where the extremists are marginalized by millions of moms and dads who want the same opportunities for their children that we have for ours."

The speech came roughly mid-way through a Middle East trip that has taken President Bush to Israel and the West Bank, where he sought to encourage peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians.

He said he came away encouraged, adding that even though talks on the parameters of a Palestinian state are just beginning, hopes are high.

"We will encourage reconciliation between the Israeli and Palestinian people, foster reconciliation between Israelis and Arabs and build a foundation for lasting peace that will contribute to every state in the Gulf," he said.

The president is visiting several Gulf states on this trip, he came to the United Arab Emirates from Bahrain - the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet. While there, he visited a naval facility that provides support for U.S. forces in Iraq.