News / USA

Obama UN Speech to Cover Syria, Chemical Weapons, Iran, Arab Transformations

President Barack Obama speaks in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington, Sept. 16, 2013.
President Barack Obama speaks in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington, Sept. 16, 2013.
Syria's civil war and the use of chemical weapons, Iran's nuclear program, and transformations in the Arab world will be key topics in U.S. President Barack Obama's address next Tuesday to the United Nations General Assembly.

Recent statements by Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, about a desire to increase cooperation and engagement have increased speculation about a possible meeting with Obama.

According to the White House, no such meeting is planned, although officials reiterate Obama's longstanding willingness to consider direct bilateral contacts if they hold potential for diplomatic solutions.

Rouhani's engagement

Rouhani has said Iran is not seeking to build nuclear weapons and will under no circumstances "seek any weapons of mass destruction."

In a Washington Post opinion piece, he spoke of pursuing constructive dialogue with world powers.

The White House attributes the Iranian outreach to unity by the international community, and the impact of sanctions, to pressure Iran to clarify details of its nuclear program.

Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes reiterated that the United States is open to engagement with Iran's government, although there is no "open-ended window" for diplomacy. He also said the U.S. believes talks with Iran need to move forward on a multilateral basis.
 
"We also very strongly believe that the forum for resolving this issue includes the P5+1, given the international unity we have built with Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany on this issue, so even as we indicated an openness to dialogue with the Iranians, we have made the P5+1 a forum for these discussions with the Iranians," said Rhodes.

Focus on Mideast, North Africa

In his speech to the General Assembly, Obama will focus on events and U.S. interests in the Middle East and North Africa, providing what Rhodes said will be an update on America's approach.

Syria will be a key part of that, including a call for the international community to take a firm position against the use of chemical weapons.

"He will reinforce the need for the international community to stand strongly against the use of chemical weapons, and continue to argue for a clear diplomatic process to put Assad's chemical weapons under international control and ultimately destroy them, including our support for a U.N. Security Council resolution that enforces consequences on the Assad regime should they fail to cooperate with the international community in that effort," said Rhodes.

At the same time, Obama will underscore the importance of a political solution to the Syrian civil war, one Rhodes said cannot include President Bashar al-Assad.

Obama also will point to the direct talks Israel and Palestinians are holding on final status issues. He meets Tuesday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The president's schedule at this point includes two other formal bilateral meetings, with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, and President Michel Suleiman of Lebanon.  

The talks with Lebanon's president will focus on refugee flows from Syria and support for Lebanon's democratic process.

With Nigeria's president, Obama will discuss economic issues, preparations for Nigerian elections, and security cooperation as Nigeria contends with threats from militant group Boko Haram and a northern insurgency.

Obama also will host an event focusing attention on growing challenges and restrictions on civil society around the globe.

You May Like

Forest Stands Between Nigeria, Victory Over Boko Haram

Military takes back nearly all towns, villages in northeast, except for massive expanse of forest that spreads thousands of square kilometers over several states More

IS Recruiting Stokes Fears for Parents in Georgia

Chechens are notable part of Islamic State's gains in Syria and Iraq, and analysts fear what might happen if those fighters return to Caucasus More

Yarmouk Camp Becomes Distant Memory for Palestinian Diaspora

Once thriving capital of Palestinian diaspora, after siege by Syrian government forces and Islamic State group, camp becomes 'deepest circle of hell' 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.
Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'i
X
Sharon Behn
April 21, 2015 9:18 PM
A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten. Sharon Behn reports on the politics of the word genocide on the 100th anniversary of the events.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video German Program Helps Migrants Overcome Traumatic Experience at Sea

Migrants fleeing poverty and violence in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia risk life and limb to reach safety in Europe. Those who have made it to European shores are traumatized by the experience. A program in Germany helps survivors overcome the trauma by giving a new perspective to their catastrophic experience. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs