News

Israeli, Syrian Foreign Ministers Address UN

The foreign ministers of Israel and Syria addressed the U.N. General Assembly Monday as the annual debate resumed for a fifth day. Israel's foreign minister called for further sanctions against Iran for its nuclear activities, while Syria said it is time for Israel to expose its own nuclear program to international scrutiny. From U.N. headquarters in New York, VOA's Margaret Besheer has more.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni called for tougher U.N. action against Iran, saying its nuclear ambitions are "sinister" and its government is a major source of regional instability.

"No responsible state disagrees that Iran is the most prominent sponsor of terrorism," said Tzipi Livni. "It is a major source of instability and conflict in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and across the entire Middle East, and it is the enemy of Arab-Israeli co-existence."

In comments apparently directed at Security Council members China and Russia, Livni criticized countries that have blocked tougher measures against Iran, saying their inaction calls into question the very relevance of the United Nations.

"What is the value, we have to ask, of an organization which is unable to take effective action in the face of a direct assault on the very principles it was founded to protect?", she said.

China and Russia - which both have Security Council veto powers - have resisted further sanctions against Iran, despite Tehran's unwillingness to comply with U.N. demands that it halt its uranium enrichment activities.

On Friday, the five permanent Security Council members plus Germany announced they agreed to put off until November discussions on a third U.N. sanctions resolution against Iran.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moualem did not directly mention ally Iran in his remarks, but said Damascus stresses the right of all countries to freely acquire nuclear technologies for peaceful purposes.

He added that Syria supports the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction from the Middle East, and he called on Israel to submit its nuclear program to international scrutiny.

"We believe that it is necessary to compel Israel, the sole party in the region that possesses nuclear weapons, to submit its facilities to the safeguards regime of the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] and adhere to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement," said Walid Moualem.

Israel is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, although it is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons. Its government follows a policy of neither confirming nor denying its nuclear status.

Moualem also critized an Israeli airstrike over Syria last month, calling it proof of Israel's desire to escalate tension, and he criticized the international community for not denouncing the attack.

The strike raised speculation that Israel had hit a weapons shipment headed for Hezbollah militants in Lebanon or even some sort of nuclear installation. Israel's government has remained silent about the matter, but earlier Monday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told British Radio that the attack was on an "unused military building" and says his country reserves the right to retaliate.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs