News / USA

US Expected to Press Syria at UN General Assembly

The logo of the United Nations is seen on the outside of their headquarters in New York, Sept. 15, 2013.The logo of the United Nations is seen on the outside of their headquarters in New York, Sept. 15, 2013.
x
The logo of the United Nations is seen on the outside of their headquarters in New York, Sept. 15, 2013.
The logo of the United Nations is seen on the outside of their headquarters in New York, Sept. 15, 2013.
Zlatica Hoke
World leaders will convene Tuesday in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.  The U.S. government on Friday unveiled its goals for the upcoming session. 

U.S. officials say Syria, the Middle East and North Africa will be high on the U.S. agenda at the General Assembly. 

State Department official Dean Pittman, the acting assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs, says the United States will urge fast elimination of Syria's chemical weapons so that efforts can start to end the civil war there. 

"And so what we'd like to see very quickly after we get this initial phase of this effort to rid Syria of its chemical weapons is that we'll be able to move on the political front and Geneva-2, and bring the parties together and sit down, and based on what we've already agreed in Geneva-1 to build a process - to put a process in place - that will allow us to establish a real political settlement because that's ultimately what's going to resolve this situation in Syria," he said.

Pittman said the United States has been disappointed with the U.N. Security Council, where veto-holding members Russia and China have blocked every effort to issue a resolution on Syria.  But he said the United States has been able to accomplish significant goals in the embattled country through other U.N. groups.   

"Just for a couple of examples:  the World Food Program has been able through their assistance program, and our contributions and the contributions of other U.N. members - has been able to provide assistance to 4 million people at risk, and that includes 1.3 million children," he said. "If you look at what the International Organization for Migration has been able to do - it has been able to help 1.5 million migrants and internally displaced and refugees, and if you look at what we've been able to do with the Human Rights Council as well.  There, we've been able to establish a commission of inquiry that has been doing really serious work on exposing some of the atrocities in Syria.  And we've been able to establish a special rapporteur who has been looking at the situation in Syria as well."

U.S. President Barack Obama will address the General Assembly during its first day Tuesday.  Pittman said the speech will focus on the Middle East, Syria and North Africa.  But he said the president also wants to address the importance of supporting the development of civil society, especially in the countries where it has been suppressed.

While in New York, President Obama will have bilateral meetings with the Nigerian, Lebanese and Palestinian presidents.  Responding to speculation in the media, U.S. officials said there are no plans for a meeting between Mr. Obama and Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani.

A State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf, said the United States is encouraged by friendly overtures from Iran, but that Washington is looking for action regarding Tehran's controversial nuclear program.  

"We've said from the beginning that what we are looking for aren't words, they are actions.  That's what really matters: that we are open to talking directly with Iranians if and when they are willing to do so.  But we need to see a substantive response to our proposals on their nuclear program as well," she said.

On Monday night, President Obama will host a reception for world leaders in New York.  The U.N. General Assembly continues until October 4.

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes 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.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

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