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

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees 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.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

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