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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More