News / Middle East

Morsi, Middle East Take Center Stage at UN General Assembly

Mohammed Morsi, President of Egypt, addresses the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012.
Mohammed Morsi, President of Egypt, addresses the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012.
Margaret Besheer
At the United Nations General Assembly, Egypt's new president made his debut Wednesday, while Iran's president gave his final speech to the annual gathering.  Away from the podium, leaders discussed crises in the Sahel, Somalia and Middle East. 
 
Egypt's new president, Mohamed Morsi, introduced himself as his country's first civilian president elected democratically following a peaceful revolution.  He laid out the new Egypt's vision on issues in the Middle East and Africa and denounced a recent video that mocked Islam.

He said the most important issue facing the international community is the need to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "I call upon you all, just as you have supported the revolutions of the Arab peoples, I call upon you to lend your support to the Palestinians in their endeavor to regain the full and legitimate rights of a people struggling to gain its freedom and establish his independent state," he said.
 
On the crisis in Syria, President Morsi said the bloodshed must end and the humanitarian crisis stop.  He urged the opposition to propose a unified vision of a democratic transfer of power and said the time would soon come for the Syrian people to decide their destiny.

"After this regime - the current regime - comes to an end -- the regime that kills its people day and night - after this regime comes to an end, the Syrian people will choose, with their own freewill, a regime that represents it and places Syria in its right place among democratic countries," he said. 
 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also spoke Wednesday.  In his eighth and final appearance at the annual gathering, he struck a more sedate tone, giving his ideas about a new world order and mostly refraining from his usual vitriol about the United States and Israel. 

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gestures as he arrives at his seat before addressing the 67th session of the UN General Assembly at UN. headquarters in New York, September 26, 2012.Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gestures as he arrives at his seat before addressing the 67th session of the UN General Assembly at UN. headquarters in New York, September 26, 2012.
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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gestures as he arrives at his seat before addressing the 67th session of the UN General Assembly at UN. headquarters in New York, September 26, 2012.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gestures as he arrives at his seat before addressing the 67th session of the UN General Assembly at UN. headquarters in New York, September 26, 2012.
He made only one vague reference to his country’s problems with the international community over its controversial nuclear program.  He is heard here through an interpreter: "Continued threat by the uncivilized Zionists to resort to military action against our great nation is a clear example of this bitter reality," he said. 

The United States said it did not send a representative to hear Ahmadinejad’s speech because he had used his U.N. trip to "spout paranoid theories and repulsive slurs against Israel."  Wednesday was also the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur.

British Prime Minister David Cameron used his time at the podium to urge support for the Arab Spring. "The Arab Spring represents a precious opportunity for people to realize their aspirations for a job, a voice and a stake in their own future," he said. 

Away from the podium, the U.N. Security Council held a high-level meeting with the Arab League on how the two bodies could improve cooperation.  Syria and the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process figured prominently among their remarks.

There were also high-level meetings to discuss the political transition in Somalia and the crisis in the Sahel.  The United States and France urged the United Nations to support an African-led peacekeeping force to restore stability in northern Mali. 

The annual meeting continues Thursday with an address from Burma's civilian president, Thein Sein, and speeches from the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, among others. Outside the General Assembly, there will be a meeting of world powers on Iran's nuclear program.

Watch related video of presidents of Pakistan, Afghanistan at UN

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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by: Stella from: Tx
September 28, 2012 1:42 PM
Why cant be world at peace.? Education is the key to peace.

by: Hassan from: Canada
September 27, 2012 2:44 PM
Nabil, I cried when i read your message. I am Egyptian Copt and i live in Canada. I hate Canada as much as you hate UK. my daughter called your message to our attention and she passed it to all our family. we all cried. we love our Egypt but we know that it is destroyed by the degrading influence of Islam. Egypt become like Hamas and Hizbullah everyone is in fear. Nabil, you are so right when you say that the world is happy to be deceived by Islam... they don't know what it is. they don't know its vile nature. my daughter said that the only redeeming value of Islam is that it is suicidal - it eventually kills itself... after it kills everyone else...
someone called Quran satanic verses... he was so right... keep paying Nabil, for the people of the lord in Jerusalem will deliver us too... amen.

by: Dr. Malek Towghi from: USA
September 27, 2012 1:18 AM
By allowing the obscurantist Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis to hijack the Arab Spring, the Arabs missed the train again.

by: kafantaris from: USA, Ohio
September 26, 2012 11:31 PM
The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution itself are both utopian, and both over 200 years old. But unlike other utopias, the one our forefathers embraced works. It has an ingenious mechanism to revitalize its institutions: Freedom of speech. As John Stuart Mill explained, when a society allows its citizens to question its government, its values and its most sacred beliefs, the examination finds errors and things for improvement.

But even when no correction at all is needed, the challenge in itself works miracles -- it forces us to defend them. If things prove fine after such "stress test," we learn that we are on the right track. Merely knowing this wipes away uncertainty and replaces it with life and vigor. Such is the hidden benefit of open debate -- and the reason why institutions elsewhere stagnate and die.

And no one rushes to save them because people have forgotten long before why they are there in the first place. This is the grave danger John Mill warned us about. The fathers of this country gave heed to his words. Perhaps the fathers of new democracies should do the same.

by: john from: german
September 26, 2012 10:43 PM
Nabil from UK, I understand your feeling. But sorry to tell you that you had better stay outside just for your safety. As what you said, Muslim is engaging in genocide against its own people - even Muslims themself. Since Egypt and the arab countires are under the rule of Islam, there will be hopeless for them. What they eager and passionate is violence and bloodshed.

by: ali baba from: new york
September 26, 2012 9:02 PM
in morsi speech,he attacked freedom of speech. freedom of speech is the right of every citizen .muslim believe that they the right to incite violence.they have the right to attack other religion but once a video has negeative thought about islam ,they got angry. mslim has to clean their act.if they do not like western culture ,do not ask aids. dont ask tourist to visit Egypt and see who will be the loser

by: Nabil from: UK
September 26, 2012 4:56 PM
you are right "ali Baba" - i am Egyptian Copt... i live in exile from the country that i love Egypt... i live in UK - a place that i come to hate with passion... i want to go back to my country but i am afraid... why... because the Muslim Brotherhood is engaging in genocide against its own people - even Muslims - who they think are unworthy of the "blessings" of strict Islamic law... I love my country Egypt but i fear the world is willing to be deceived by Islam...

by: Hadeer from: Egypt
September 26, 2012 3:34 PM
Morsi is our president we love him and agree with every word he said, we trust him, respect him and elected him. Muslims Brotherhood love their county and try develop it.

by: ali baba from: new york
September 26, 2012 3:04 PM
what morsi ,pakistan and afginstan in united nation are not telling the truth.all of them use double standard and what they say are not their real opnion.morsi is belong to brotherhood .a fanatic group that want change egypt into islamic state by steps.he seeking ecnomic help from the west to strong his position then the real color of morsi will surface and it will be sad for egypt

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