Wed, September 26, 2012
World > International Organizations > Surge of Islamic protests against U.S.

Obama addresses UN, talks about Iran, Syria

2012-09-25 23:40:00 GMT2012-09-26 07:40:00(Beijing Time)

U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the opening of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.

Obama: Anti-Muslim film an insult to America as well

U.S. President Barack Obama told world leaders at the opening of the UN General Assembly in New York that an anti-Muslim video that has sparked unrest is “an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well.”

But Obama rejected the widespread violence spawned by the video.

“On this we must agree: there is no speech that justifies mindless violence. 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.”

Obama began his remarks with a tribute to U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed on Sept. 11 with three other Americans in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

“The attacks of the last two weeks are not simply an assault on America. They are also an assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded — the notion that people can resolve their differences peacefully; that diplomacy can take the place of war; and that in an interdependent world, all of us have a stake in working towards greater opportunity and security for our citizens.”

Obama on transition to democracy in Libya

Obama noted the challenges accompanying the transition to democracy in a country such as Libya.

“And yet the turmoil of recent weeks reminds us that the path to democracy does not end with the casting of a ballot. Nelson Mandela once said: ‘To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.’”

Time not unlimited for Iran

In his speech, Obama had stern words for Iran, which he said “Time and again, it has failed to take the opportunity to demonstrate that its nuclear program is peaceful, and to meet its obligations to the United Nations. Let me be clear: America wants to resolve this issue through diplomacy, and we believe that there is still time and space to do so. But that time is not unlimited.”

Obama urges Assad to go

Obama denounced Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. “We must remain engaged to assure that what began with citizens demanding their rights does not end in a cycle of sectarian violence.”

Obama also called for “a secure, Jewish state of Israel; and an independent, prosperous Palestine. Understanding that such a peace must come through a just agreement between the parties, America will walk alongside all who are prepared to make that journey.”

UN Chief urges support to new envoy

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told world leaders in New York at the opening of the General Assembly today that he was there to “sound the alarm about our direction as a human family.”

In his annual state of the world speech in New York City, Ban pointed to “widespread insecurity and injustice, inequality and intolerance."

The crisis in Syria grows worse by the day, Ban said, and is now "a regional calamity with global ramification."

Ban called for members of the Security Council to support the efforts of Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi.

“We must stop the violence and flows of arms to both sides, and set in motion a Syrian-led transition as soon as possible.”


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