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

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    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.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora