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Zimbabwean, Pakistani Presidents Headline 3rd Day of UN General Assembly


One of the world's longest-serving leaders and one of its newest will take the stage at the United Nations General Assembly Thursday.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Pakistan's new president, Asif Ali Zardari, will headline the third day of debate in New York.

President Mugabe has governed Zimbabwe with a strong grip since 1980. He recently agreed to relinquish some power to the opposition under international pressure following controversial general elections.

The Pakistani president took office earlier this month, and is already faced with the challenge of controlling an increasingly violent militant insurgency.

Other speakers Thursday at the General Assembly include Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso and Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha.

Wednesday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai told the forum that terrorism has spread throughout South Asia like "wildfire." He said the international community must do more to bolster Afghan security forces.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao focused on the global economic crisis, warning that the problems are likely to worsen. He called on the international community to work together on the issue.

In other speeches, Israeli President Shimon Peres said his country is ready to negotiate full peace with the Palestinians. For Cuba, First Vice President Jose Ramon Machado blamed the global food crisis on the "wastefulness and speculation" of a few countries in the industrialized North.

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe called for more international support to free his country from what he called the "horrors" of drug trafficking, terrorism and poverty.