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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid