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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs