U.N. General Assembly 2012: Speeches, Meetings and More
Welcome to the NewsHour’s live-blog of the U.N. General Assembly, where more than 120 world leaders and envoys met in New York City. View highlights below from three days of the 67th session.
Thursday, Sept. 27
Photo by Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images
Updated 6:20 p.m. ET | South Sudan’s Vice President Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon said when his country became independent from Sudan on July 9, 2011, some major differences still exited between the two neighbors. They reached resolution this week on some crucial issues, including use of Sudan’s oil infrastructure and border placement, but were unable to agree on which side can claim the oil-rich village of Abyei.
“It is now incumbent upon the [African Union] Peace and Security Council together with the U.N. Security Council to take necessary action for the way forward,” he said.
Related Resource: View voices from Abyei.
Within South Sudan, Teny-Dhurgon said his country is hoping to address food security by diversify its economy from oil (oil revenues make up 98 percent of South Sudan’s budget) and bolstering agriculture. “A hungry man is an angry man,” he said. The new country also is working to improve education and other services, he noted, but “still has a long way to go.”
(Read his full prepared remarks.)
Updated 1:34 p.m. ET | U.N. Dispatch has a schedule of who’s speaking today.
Updated 12:37 p.m. ET | Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani was one of several leaders to speak about Syria. “Hundreds of innocent civilians are killed everyday” by a regime that does not care for its people, he said. “It is better for the Arab countries to intercede … and do what is necessary to stop the destruction in Syria.” (Read his full statement.)
Updated 12:18 p.m. ET | While President Obama’s schedule at the United Nations was dearth of bilateral meetings, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with the presidents of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday to urge them to resolve a conflict over rebels in eastern Congo, which is destabilizing the region, reports Reuters.
Updated 11 a.m. ET | “It is because of the progress I’ve witnessed that after nearly four years as president, I am hopeful about the world we live in,” President Obama said, referencing the end of the war in Iraq, troops departing Afghanistan and a weakened al-Qaida.
Read the president’s full remarks as published by the White House.
Updated 10:55 a.m. ET | “We respect the right of nations to access peaceful nuclear power, but one of the purposes of the United Nations is to see that we harness that power for peace. Make no mistake: a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained,” President Obama said.
Updated 10:48 a.m. ET | The president’s remarks about resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were met with applause: “Among Israelis and Palestinians, the future must not belong to those who turn their backs on the prospect of peace. Let us leave behind those who thrive on conflict, and those who reject the right of Israel to exist. The road is hard but the destination is clear – a secure, Jewish state of Israel; and an independent, prosperous Palestine.”
Updated 10:40 a.m. ET | “There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents. There is no video that justifies an attack on an Embassy. There is no slander that provides an excuse for people to burn a restaurant in Lebanon, or destroy a school in Tunis, or cause death and destruction in Pakistan,” said President Obama.
Updated 10:33 a.m. ET | “We again declare that the regime of Bashar al-Assad must come to an end so that the suffering of the Syrian people can stop, and a new dawn can begin,” President Obama said.
Updated 10:25 a.m. ET | President Obama began his speech by describing U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, who died Sept. 11 at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
He “embodied the best of America,” the president said. “He acted with humility but he also stood up for a set of principles.”
The attacks are not just on America but on the ideals upon which the United Nations was founded, said President Obama. If we are serious about these ideals we must speak honestly about what’s behind the crisis, he said. “We must declare that this violence and intolerance has no place among our united nations.”
Updated 10:20 a.m. ET | Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff spoke up for Cuba’s economic efforts, saying they require support from other countries. The time has come to end sanctions there, she said. She also invited leaders to be inspired by the Olympic flame (Brazil hosts the 2016 Summer Games).
Updated 9:25 a.m. ET | U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (pictured at right) said the situation in Syria is getting worse and worse. The international community should support efforts to stop the violence and help a Syria-led transition as soon as possible, he said.
Palestinians must be able to “realize their right to a viable state of their own,” Ban also said, while Israel and Palestine should live free from the threat of rockets and without Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.
In addition, Ban brought up Iran’s nuclear program, saying Tehran must prove its program has a solely peaceful intent.
Updated 9:10 a.m. ET | U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the 67th session of the U.N. General Assembly by sounding “an alarm” that in this time of turmoil, transition and transformation, too many countries are becoming weaponized and divided.
But he also said he is heartened that democratic transitions are underway in Myanmar and elsewhere, Africa’s growth has become the fastest in the world, and countries in Asia are making strides.
Sustainable development is the key to advancement, he said, because the current use of resources is threatening the planet’s limits.
Posted 9 a.m. ET | President Obama is one of the first leaders to speak at the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, and he is expected to denounce the anti-Islam video that sparked deadly protests in the Muslim world.
He also is expected to say containment is not an option for a nuclear-armed Iran, and that there is still time for diplomacy but time is “not unlimited,” according to advance copies of his speech.
Related Resource: 5 Things to Watch for at the 2012 U.N. General Assembly
New York police officers stand near United Nations headquarters on Monday before more than 120 heads of state meet for the 67th session of the U.N. General Assembly. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.
Photo of French President Francois Hollande by John Moore/Getty Images, of President Obama by Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images, and of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon by Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images.
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