News / Middle East

Obama UN Address to Spotlight Libya, Arab Spring, Mideast Peace Efforts

The United Nations headquarters building in New York, September 19, 2011.
The United Nations headquarters building in New York, September 19, 2011.

President Barack Obama will address the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday with a speech that is likely to focus on the dramatic transformations underway in the Middle East and North Africa, the troubled Israel-Palestinian peace efforts and the global economy.  

Major themes for Obama are expected to include the so-called Arab Spring, dividends from international cooperation in Libya, efforts to bring Israel and Palestinians back to direct negotiations and ongoing global efforts against nuclear proliferation.

White House officials and a written policy overview issued on the eve of President Obama's speech shed light on what the president will discuss.

The White House document speaks of the Obama administration's "dramatically changed" course to advance U.S. "interests and values" and help forge a more secure and prosperous world in a "new era of engagement."

Results include "an unprecedented mandate to intervene and save lives in Libya," vigorous defense of Israel, support for the establishment of an independent South Sudan along with the strongest U.N. sanctions ever imposed on Iran and North Korea, and renewed momentum to stop nuclear proliferation.

President Obama is expected to point to Libya as the clearest example of what international cooperation can achieve.  The president spoke on Tuesday as he met with leaders of Libya's National Transitional Council.

"Libya is a lesson in what the international community can achieve when we stand together as one," said President Obama.

Obama's U.N. speech will take place as the United States and its key diplomatic partners are involved in intense diplomacy to stem a Palestinian effort to secure statehood recognition by the U.N. Security Council.

The United States says it will veto any such resolution.  And President Obama is expected to restate America's position before the U.N. General Assembly, saying that the only path to a two-state solution with security for Israel and a viable Palestinian state is through the resumption of direct peace talks.

White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said Obama will underscore firm U.S. support for Israel, but repeat that peace is up to Israelis and Palestinians to create.

"At the end of the day, peace is going to have to be made between the parties - that it can't be imposed from the outside, that it can't be accomplished through actions at the U.N., that it is going to have to be Israelis and Palestinians sitting down and dealing with the very hard issues that have divided them for some time now," said Rhodes.

The White House on Tuesday recalled a pledge President Obama made to "continue U.S. efforts to combat all international attempts to challenge the legitimacy of Israel - especially at the United Nations."  

Rhodes said the president will reflect on progress the United States has made in "reorienting" its foreign policy.  This includes transitions underway in Afghanistan and Iraq, and progress in degrading the al-Qaida terrorist network.

The White House preview of the president's speech stressed the critical role of the United Nations as the United States draws down its forces in both countries in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

President Obama's address will come a day before Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks to the General Assembly.  Officials say Obama will make a point of noting that Iranians were protesting for greater freedom long before the start of the Arab Spring.

Other topics Obama will likely cover in this, his third speech to the General Assembly include famine in the Horn of Africa and the role of U.S. assistance there along with the importance of international peacekeeping and global economic challenges.

The president might also mention the U.N. Human Rights Council.  The White House overview of U.S. interests called the council flawed and noted that the United States helped prevent Iran and Syria from gaining seats on the council, and that it is working to end the "excessive focus" the body has had on Israel.  

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs