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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid