U.N. Appeals Directed at Next U.S. President; World Leaders Look Past Bush Ideologies

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UNITED NATIONS -- World leaders looked beyond the Bush administration during their speeches to the U.N. General Assembly, often addressing their remarks - even if indirectly - to the next U.S. president.

President Bush gave his eighth and final address as president to the world body as the annual session got under way last week. His speech was heavy on remarks about the need to fight terrorism and tyranny while supporting young democracies and foreign aid.

Many of the leaders and ministers then gave speeches that were directed at the U.S. and Mr. Bush's successor, who will take office in January.

The American empire in the world is reaching the end of its road, said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And its next rulers must limit their interference to their own borders.

As the U.S. financial crisis billowed across foreign markets and U.S. troops remained in Afghanistan and Iraq, speakers beseeched future leaders of the superpower - as the U.S. is often known - to make peace with enemies, impose limits on capitalism and increase aid to poor nations.

U.S. officials, in public remarks at the United Nations and at bilateral meetings, affirmed the importance of the world body.

To uphold the [U.N.] Charter's promise of peace and security in the 21st century, we also must confront the ideology of the terrorists. At its core, the struggle against the extremists is a battle of ideas, Mr. Bush said.

Anticipation of a new U.S. president in about three months has affected planning for Afghanistan and other initiatives, said French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.

The American elections are coming; there is a complex situation, he told The Washington Times at a breakfast briefing. People in Georgia, Afghanistan, Iraq, yes, there is a feeling, an expecting, a wondering if the candidate, the eventual new president, will follow the same line or change his conditions.

In meetings on Afghanistan, Mr. Kouchner said it is obvious that troop-contributing European countries are not sure whether to plan for more or fewer U.S. troops.

It will be possible to change, reverse the original by sending new troops or not, Mr. Kouchner said.

He noted that Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barak Obama has said he plans to move troops from Iraq to Afghanistan, while Republican nominee Sen. John McCain has not been so explicit.

We are talking about that. …