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

Sunni-Shi’ite Divide Threatens Middle East Stability

Analysts say ancient dispute that traces back to Islamic Revolution is fueling modern day unrest More

Shifting Demographics Lie Beneath Racial Tensions in Ferguson

As Missouri suburb morphed from majority white to majority black, observers say power structure remained static More

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Restriction is toughest since Soviet era, though critics reject move as patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid