The US President also praised the limited democratic reforms that have been made by Gulf nations in recent years.
“This new era is being built with the understanding that power is a trust that must be exercised with the consent of the governed,” Bush said.
Bush said advancing democracy and freedom is the core of his administration’s foreign policy and critical to US security.
“The United States has no desire for territory. We seek our shared security in your liberty. We believe that stability can only come through a free and just Middle East where the extremists are marginalized,” the president said.
In renewing his “Freedom Agenda” - Bush’s grand ambition to seed democracy around the globe - he declared that “democracy is the only form of government that treats individuals with the dignity and equality that is their right.”
“We know from experience that democracy is the only system of government that yields lasting peace and stability,” he added.
According to President Bush, Iran funds terrorist extremists, undermines peace in Lebanon, sends arms to the Taliban, seeks to intimidate its neighbours with alarming rhetoric, defies the United Nations and destabilizes the entire region by refusing to be open about its nuclear program.
“Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terror,” Bush claimed.
“Iran’s actions threaten the security of nations everywhere. So the United States is strengthening our long-standing security commitments with our friends in the Gulf, and rallying friends around the world to confront this danger before it is too late.”
FIRST VISIT TO UAE
Bush delivered his speech in Abu Dhabi, in what marks his first visit to the UAE. He is midway through an eight-day Mideast trip that began with a renewed push for an Israeli-Palestinian peace pact, an accord he said whose “time has come.”
Bush appeals for Mideast democracy