Thu, September 24, 2009
World > Americas > President Hu attends G20, UN summits

Obama proclaims America's "new era of engagement with the world" at UN

2009-09-23 23:44:19 GMT2009-09-24 07:44:19 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the 64th United Nations General Assembly, at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 23, 2009. Obama on Wednesday promised a new era of U.S. engagement with the world, saying that only by acting together can mankind overcome pressing global challenges.(Reuters Photo)

U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the 64th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 23, 2009. (Reuters Photo)

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday said that the United States has re-engaged the United Nations by paying the dues and joining the Human Rights Council.

"This body was founded on the belief that the nations of the world could solve their problems together," Obama said in addressing the general debate of the General Assembly, which opened here on Wednesday.

"But make no mistake: this cannot be solely America's endeavor. Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world's problems alone," he warned.

Proclaiming a "new era of engagement with the world," Obama urged for a "share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges."

Obama, making a policy shift from the unilateralism practised by the previous administration of George W. Bush since the first black president took office early this year, embraced the multilateralism and warmed up relations with the 192-member world body.

Echoing throughout Obama's speech was his call for a "cooperative effort" from all nations in combating the world's challenges, which he named as the "four pillars-" non-proliferation and disarmament, peace and security, the preservation of our planet and a global economy.

Specifically citing the governments of DPRK and Iran, he warned that "if the governments of Iran and North Korea choose to ignore international standards; if they put the pursuit of nuclear weapons ahead of regional stability and the security and opportunity of their own people; if they are oblivious to the dangers of escalating nuclear arms races in both East Asia and the Middle East -- then they must be held accountable."

Opening the general debate, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had praised Obama's peacekeeping efforts.

Pressing the need for more cooperation, Obama said: "We continue to call on Palestinians to end incitement against Israel, and we continue to emphasize that America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements."

Also discussing the challenge of climate change in his speech, which comes a day after the high-level climate-change summit convened at the UN, Obama said, "the danger posed by climate change cannot be denied, and our responsibility to meet it must not be deferred." He added that, "if we continue down our current course, every member of this Assembly will see irreversible changes within their borders."

"The choice is ours. We can be remembered as a generation that chose to drag the arguments of the 20th century into the 21st; that put off hard choices, refused to look ahead, and failed to keep pace because we defined ourselves by what we were against instead of what we were for," Obama said.

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