News / USA

Obama, Rouhani in Spotlight at UN Assembly

Obama, Rouhani in Spotlight at UN Assemblyi
X
September 25, 2013 6:40 PM
n his speech to the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama expressed a willingness to explore a thaw in relations with Iran and urged the international community to enforce a chemical weapons deal with Syria. He shared some of the spotlight with Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, who said his country is ready to engage in serious talks about its nuclear program. VOA United Nations correspondent Margaret Besheer sums up the day’s events.
Margaret Besheer
U.S. President Barack Obama has told the U.N. General Assembly he is willing to explore a thaw in relations with Iran, while urging consequences for Syria if it does not comply with a deal banning its chemical weapons. Obama shared some of the spotlight Tuesday with Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, who said his country is ready to engage in serious talks about its nuclear program.

Obama led off the annual debate, saying on the foreign policy front he would use his remaining years in office to pursue two particular issues.

"Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and the Arab-Israeli conflict," he said. "While these issues are not the cause of all the region’s problems, they have been a major source of instability for far too long, and resolving them can help serve as a foundation for a broader peace.”

On the Iran issue, he added that the United States is not seeking regime change in Tehran, and that it respects the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy.  But he added that distrust of Iran has “deep roots” and cannot be overcome quickly.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters September 24, 2013.Iran's President Hassan Rouhani addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters September 24, 2013.
x
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters September 24, 2013.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters September 24, 2013.
“But I do believe that if we can resolve the issue of Iran’s nuclear program, that can serve as a major step down a long road towards a different relationship - one based on mutual interests and mutual respect,” said Obama.

On the crisis in Syria, where more than 100,000 people have been killed, Obama said a U.S.-Russian deal to eliminate the government’s chemical weapons arsenal should energize efforts to find a political settlement to the conflict.

Obama shared some of the spotlight with new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.  Rouhani has portrayed himself as more moderate than hardline predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

He said Iran is ready to immediately hold “time bound and results-oriented talks” to build mutual confidence about its suspect nuclear program.

“Our national interests make it imperative we remove any and all reasonable concerns about our peaceful nuclear program,” Rouhani said.

He also criticized international sanctions against Iran, saying they only hurt regular people, not the state.

But after indicating he wants improved relations with the West, an anticipated encounter between Rouhani and Obama did not take place on the sidelines of the General Assembly.  A U.S. official said the Iranians felt it would be too difficult for them at this stage.

Syria figured prominently in the remarks of other leaders, including Jordan’s King Abdullah. Jordan hosts nearly one million Syrian refugees and is struggling under that burden.

“These are not just numbers; they are people who need food, water, shelter, sanitation, electricity, health care and more,” said Abdullah.

From Africa, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan expressed concern about terrorism in the region, including the attack on a shopping mall in Kenya. He said piracy is another menace to the continent.

Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, used much of her speech to chastise the United States for recent disclosures that it has spied on her government's internal communications.  She said the right to security of a country’s citizens can never be ensured by violating the human and civil rights of another nation's people.

On Wednesday, the speeches continue, as do a number of high-level meetings on issues from Syria to the Central African Republic.

You May Like

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid