News / USA

Syria Crisis, Iran Will Top Agenda at Annual UN Assembly

Syria Crisis, Iran Key Topics at Annual UN Assemblyi
X
September 21, 2013 2:22 AM
On Tuesday, world leaders will convene in New York for their annual gathering at the United Nations General Assembly. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports that the Syrian conflict - and an appearance by Iran's new president - are likely to overshadow the meetings.
Syria Crisis, Iran Key Topics at Annual UN Assembly
Margaret Besheer
On Tuesday, world leaders will convene in New York for their annual gathering at the United Nations General Assembly. The Syrian conflict - and an appearance by Iran's new president - are likely to overshadow the meetings.

This year, leaders will not meet in the tired grandeur of the General Assembly hall, which is undergoing a major renovation. Instead, they will gather for the annual debate in a spacious and modern conference hall that has been outfitted with the familiar green marble dais.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has made clear that Syria will top the international agenda, saying it is the biggest peace, security and humanitarian challenge the U.N. faces.

“Let us be clear: the use of chemical weapons in Syria is only the tip of the iceberg. The suffering in Syria must end,” said Ban.

There will be meetings on the margins of the General Assembly between key players on Syria, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, on how to implement a deal for Syria to give up and destroy its chemical arsenal.

Ban will meet with the foreign ministers of the five U.N. Security Council permanent members - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States. He and his special representative on Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, also plan to meet with Kerry and Lavrov, to discuss how they can build momentum toward a political solution of the Syrian crisis.

“So it is my sincere hope that, when we meet, we will be able to set a date for the Geneva II [Roman numeral 2] meeting.”

More than 100,000 people have been killed in Syria, and more than 6 million more have been internally displaced or become refugees.

An appearance by Iran's newly elected president, Hassan Rouhani, is drawing pre-meeting buzz.

Many leaders will be keen to hear what Rouhani has to say, and whether he is ready to improve relations with the West and answer outstanding questions about his country’s suspect nuclear program.

Speculation has been growing about a possible encounter between U.S. President Barack Obama and Iran's new head of state during the U.N. meetings. However, White House officials say there are currently no plans for the two men to meet.

Rouhani has been on a diplomatic charm offensive, meanwhile, offering interviews to American media and taking a far softer line than his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was widely vilified in the West for doubting the Holocaust and questioning Israel's right to exist.

Ahmadinejad's fiery rhetoric at the U.N. often was boycotted by Western and Israeli envoys who staged walkouts.

Obama is scheduled to be the second speaker at the General Assembly's opening session on Tuesday, after Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

Rousseff was to have made a state visit to Washington next month, but canceled plans for the trip abruptly this week, following disclosures that the U.S. has spied on the Brazilian government's internal communications. That could make any encounter between the two leaders awkward.
 
Other high-level meetings in and around the U.N. in the coming days will focus on Afghanistan, Egypt, Mali, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

On Thursday, Sudan’s President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir may appear at the podium. Since the International Criminal Court indicted him for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur in 2009, and formally charged him with genocide the following year, his international travel has been curtailed.

The Sudanese president has indicated he hopes to attend the General Assembly debate. As the host country of the United Nations, the United States is obliged to grant him a visa to travel here. But if he does take the podium, that will outrage many members of the international community who have called for his arrest.

More than 130 heads of state or their representatives - one of the largest contingents in U.N. history - are scheduled to attend the General Assembly meetings.

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Change Iran Now from: US
September 21, 2013 10:03 PM
Don't be fooled by this Moderate Supreme Leader. Rouhani, who usually works behind the scenes, has had to become more public in an attempt to appear partially conciliatory. If he were a moderate he would begin by halting Iran's nuclear program,stop meddling in the affairs of Syria, Iraq and the entire Middle East, providing freedom of speech and assembly in Iran, releasing all political prisoners and stop public hangings. If you want to see how Mr. Moderation, President Rouhani,is really a loyal hardliner, just check out www.hassan-rouhani.info. Iran will never change unless the regime does

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

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