News / Middle East

Annual UN Meeting Wraps Up in New York

Annual UN Meeting Wraps Upi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
October 02, 2012 1:13 AM
The U.N. General Assembly's annual debate drew to a close Monday. The week of speeches and meetings focused largely on problems in the Middle East and Africa, including Islamophobia, the conflict in Syria, Iran’s nuclear program and the effort to send military help to Mali’s government. VOA United Nations Correspondent Margaret Besheer wraps up the session.
Annual UN Meeting Wraps Up
Margaret Besheer
The U.N. General Assembly annual debate closed on Monday.  The week of speeches and meetings focused largely on problems in the Middle East and Africa, including Islamophobia, the conflict in Syria, Iran’s nuclear program and the effort to send military help to Mali’s government. 

U.S. President Barack Obama was one of the debate’s first speakers.  He urged other leaders to speak out against violence and extremism in the wake of an amateur video mocking Islam that sparked deadly protests in dozens of countries.

"There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents.  There is no video that justifies an attack on an embassy.  There is no slander that provides an excuse for people to burn a restaurant in Lebanon, or destroy a school in Tunis, or cause death and destruction in Pakistan," he said.

Obama also sought to reassure Israel as he warned Iran over its controversial nuclear program. “Let me be clear, America wants to resolve this issue through diplomacy, and we believe that there is still time and space to do so.  But that time is not unlimited," he said.

The idea that time is running out to stop the Iranian government from enriching uranium to the level needed for a nuclear weapon was the central point of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address.

Using a cartoon drawing of a bomb, that subsequently became the butt of many jokes on the Internet, but succeeded in putting Mr. Netanyahu on the front page of many newspapers, the Israeli leader sought to persuade the international community that Iran’s nuclear program is a threat not only to his country, but also to the entire world.

"And by next spring, at most by next summer, at current enrichment rates, they will have finished the medium enrichment and move on to the final stage.  From there, it is only a few months, possibly a few weeks, before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb," he said.

Netanyahu’s presentation pushed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ call the same day for a Palestinian upgrade in status in the General Assembly into the background at the annual meeting.

It also overshadowed a speech from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who mostly held forth on his idea of a new world order in his last General Assembly appearance.

But the conflict in Syria managed to top the international agenda, with scores of leaders calling for the bloodshed to stop and dialogue to begin.

Syria’s foreign minister, Walid Mouallem, was among the last speakers to address the annual meeting.  He reasserted his government's position that foreign fighters and terrorists are responsible for the violence that has killed more than 20,000 people in Syria.  Mouallem is heard here through a translator blaming several countries for the crisis.

He said, “We also wonder to what extent the statements made by Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United States, France and others - to what extent do these statements that clearly induce and support terrorism in Syria with money, weapons and foreign fighters - are these in line with the international responsibilities of these countries in combating terrorism?”

Syria’s top diplomat also questioned the refugee crisis that has led nearly 300,000 Syrians to flee, saying it was “fabricated” by armed groups inciting civilians in border areas to escape to neighboring countries.

A Syrian opposition group called the minister’s speech “delusional” and accused President Bashar al-Assad’s government of having no interest in meaningful reform or dialogue.

Several crises in Africa were also discussed during the week, including the political transition in Somalia, the outstanding issues between the two Sudans, and violence in northern Mali.  France and the United States urged support for an African-led peacekeeping force to restore order, saying that Tuareg militants and al-Qaida-linked terrorists threaten to undermine stability throughout the Sahel.

A positive moment at the podium was the address by Thein Sein, Burma’s first civilian president in five decades.  He urged the international community to view Burma through a new perspective and said his country is on an irreversible path toward democracy.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: US Marine from: USA
October 01, 2012 5:26 PM
Sonders, no difference whatsoever... Arabs are Arabs... and the solidarity of the American Left and the Muslims in the Middle East which is the corner stone of the Obama administration... and its gradual distance from staunch friends like UK and Israel is more and more disturbing... it can not end well for US... just listen to the Iranian imposters on this site to get a feeling for the Iranian degeneracy...


by: Sonders from: UK
October 01, 2012 5:22 PM
what is the difference between Arab Syrians and Arab Palestinians and Arab Egyptians and Arab Iraqis...??? I think that there is no difference

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid