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

Photogallery Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa 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.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid