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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs