News / Middle East

Annual UN Meeting Wraps Up in New York

Annual UN Meeting Wraps Up

x
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

Diplomats Work to Extend Israeli-Palestinian Cease-Fire

US Secretary of State John Kerry, diplomats from France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Turkey and Qatar gathered in Paris Saturday to discuss crisis More

Photogallery US Defense Department Warns of Arms to Eastern Ukraine

‘Imminent’ delivery of Russian rocket launcher poses threat to civilians, US says More

Video Researchers: Africa Genetically Modified Crops Held Back by Scaremongering

GM crops offer best hope of increasing productivity and coping with climate change in Africa, according to co-author of Chatham House report 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid