News / USA

Obama Speaks Against Politics of Division, Violence

President  Barack Obama addresses the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012.  (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
President Barack Obama addresses the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
President Barack Obama challenged world leaders to speak out forcefully against what he called the politics of division and violence, and confront deeper causes of anger in the Muslim world. 

During an address Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly, Obama said attacks such as the one that killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans are an assault not only on America but ideals the United Nations was founded on.

He began and ended his speech with a description of Stevens as someone who worked to bring democracy to Libya and build bridges between cultures.  The United States, he said, will be relentless in bringing the killers to justice.

World leaders, Obama said, must speak out against impulses towards violence.

"If we are serious about those ideals, we must speak honestly about the deeper causes of the crisis," said Obama. "Because we face a choice between the forces that would drive us apart and the hopes we hold in common.  Today, we must affirm that our future will be determined by people like Chris Stevens, and not by his killers.  Today, we must declare that this violence and intolerance has no place among our United Nations."

Obama called the anti-Muslim video that sparked violence in many countries "crude and disgusting" and an insult to Muslims and to the United States.  But he defended the protection of free speech in America.

He also underscored U.S. support for what he called "forces of change" in Middle Eastern and North African countries undergoing transformation in the Arab Spring.

In Syria, he said, the government of President Bashar al-Assad must come to an end, but the world must work to ensure a peaceful transition.

"In Syria, the future must not belong to a dictator who massacres his people," said Obama. "If there is a cause that cries out for protest in the world today, peaceful protest, it is a regime that tortures children and shoots rockets at apartment buildings.  And we must remain engaged to assure that what began with citizens demanding their rights does not end in a cycle of sectarian violence."
 
Obama said a "season of progress" has not been limited to the Arab world.  He cited peaceful transitions in Africa, and in Burma, adding that recent turmoil also shows that democracy is hard work.

"True democracy demands that citizens cannot be thrown in jail because of what they believe, and businesses can be opened without paying a bribe," said Obama. "It depends on the freedom of citizens to speak their minds and assemble without fear; on the rule of law and due process that guarantees the rights of all people.  In other words, true democracy - real freedom - is hard work."

Obama also spoke about the standoff with Iran over its nuclear program, which the U.S., Israel and other nations believe is aimed at developing a nuclear weapon.  Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes.

While he mentioned no "red line" for Iran that could trigger military action against its facilities, he said time for a diplomatic solution is not unlimited and the U.S. will do what it must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

"Make no mistake: a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained.  It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy," said Obama.

Before leaving New York, President Obama delivered remarks to the Clinton Global Initiative headed by former president Bill Clinton.
 
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney also addressed the organization, calling for a new approach to U.S. foreign aid.  He indirectly criticized President Obama's Middle East policies, saying Americans are "troubled" by developments there.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: B Cute from: Chicago, IL
September 26, 2012 7:15 PM
We need to stand against Obama's politics, because he is taking to the end of Israel. We are American's and I am proud to say he is wrong person send from the other site and they paid him to win election. I you are care for future yours and others "STOP" and vote agaist.


by: Anonymous
September 26, 2012 8:48 AM
No video in the world is an excusable reason to promote violence whether the video is racist or not. Racism is wrong no doubt, but that doesn't mean you burn down buildings or kill people. What is in some peoples heads???

Then for one of the parliament members of Pakistan to urge the death of the video participants is promoting even more disgusting actions. We exist in a world of free speech. If people want to be racist they can be, as disgusting as it is. Welcome to the world of democracy and free speach, get used to it!!! You don't see black people blowing up buildings because there are racist videos on YouTube. Whether it is racist of skin colour or religion it is all the same. Just using an example... Many people need to learn to live in disagreement, peacefully.


by: Global Stability
September 25, 2012 11:54 PM
On this rating it would appear Zimbabwe is off the list altogether .
As for true democracy, yes that is another story, perhaps another time.


by: Winsor from: Florida
September 25, 2012 5:49 PM
Obama's fighting for a second term..
He's going to do whatever he can to get there.
and that's what a president should to do.
He must finish what he started.


by: Jerry Frey from: USA
September 25, 2012 5:00 PM
Decide for yourself.

http://napoleonlive.info/what-i-think/mullahs-want-the-bomb/


by: Haron from: Afghanistan
September 25, 2012 11:59 AM
Mr, Obama what George Bush did for Afghanistan? supported Taliban, AL-Qaeda & Terrorists against Northern of Afghanistan by 60 countries on supporting & 100 countries recognized the lice as political government. but it was the right of heroes to remain the deaths bodies on the roads. don't shout to escape your navel it is the right of Syria to fight with the enemies.


by: Michael from: USA
September 25, 2012 10:24 AM
If Iran wanted a nuclear missle all it would have to do is drive a truck with some money to Uzbekhstan and pick from an assortment. Keep quiet about this: Iran already has some small tactical nukes

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid