Entries in General Assembly (3)


Mideast Unrest Tops Hillary Clinton's Agenda at Start of UN Meeting

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stacked her first full day of diplomacy at this year’s annual U.N. General Assembly meeting, also known as UNGA, by meeting with the leaders of some of the United States’ most challenging allies in a region marred by recent civil unrest.

Clinton had sit-down meetings with President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and Libyan President Mohamed Yousef el-Magariaf, before ending the evening Monday holding talks with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

The secretary and her delegation met with Morsi and his delegation for nearly an hour, according to senior State Department officials.  One official described the meeting as “very relaxed and warm,” and said that Morsi began the meeting by affirming Egypt’s commitment to protecting U.S. diplomatic missions, and told Clinton that the Egyptian government understands it has a duty to protect embassies and it’s a duty he takes seriously.

The official pointed out that since the initial violent protests on Sept. 11, Egypt has faced many more, but there have been no further incidents of damage to U.S. embassies and consulates -- a sign security forces are doing their jobs.

At a late Monday night briefing, the official also said that Clinton and Morsi discussed Egypt’s relationship with Israel under the new Muslim Brotherhood-led government.  The official said Morsi repeated previous statements affirming that Egypt has every intention of honoring the Camp David treaty with Israel and continues to work on keeping good communication lines open between the countries.

Both state department officials acknowledged that Egypt has a tough road ahead in shaping its new democracy but that Clinton assured Morsi that despite the call by some lawmakers for Egypt’s aid to be cut, she will continue to advocate for U.S. financial support.

“We understand that there may be members who have questions, but that there is strong bipartisan support for Egypt being a democratic success, because it’s in our national security interest that that occur,” one official said.

Egypt’s plan to include Iran in any negotiations regarding the end of bloodshed in Syria was met with heavy skepticism by Clinton and her delegation.  Calling it a small part in the conversation, an official would not dismiss Egypt’s initiative entirely, but said that the United States always has “concerns when Iran is engaged.”

Although the anti-Muslim film Innocence of Muslims, which sparked global protests across the Muslim world, was brought up briefly in the meeting, the official said, Morsi understood the film was not a reflection of the U.S. government and acknowledged that it should not be used an excuse for violence.

Secretary Clinton’s meeting with Pakistan President Zardari, however, began by discussing the video, despite the continued issues between the two countries, including the use of drones, the jailing of the doctor who helped with the operation to kill Osama bin Laden, and the declaration of the Haqqani network as a terror group.

“The meeting today with President Zardari started again on the recent violence caused by the video,” said another senior State Department official with authority to comment.  “We have had extremely good support from Pakistani security sources in protecting our posts and our personnel, and we spent quite a bit of time talking about the violence throughout the region.”

After they finished talking about the video, they turned to issues of counterterrorism, where Clinton and Zardari agreed to support a joint counterterrorism working group that will meet throughout the year.

Clinton’s most verbally and publicly pleasant greeting was reserved for Libyan President Magariaf, whom she thanked again for the outpouring of support the Libyan people have shown America after the killing of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other diplomats earlier this month.

“The United States was proud to stand with you and the Libyan people as you fought for your country last year,” Clinton said.  “And we will continue to stand with you as you now write Libya’s new future as a democracy that will give all of your people a chance to have a better future.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama to Meet with Israeli, Palestinian Leaders; Address United Nations

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- With Palestine’s bid for statehood at the United Nations looming, President Obama will hold separate meetings Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

While the U.S. and its allies had been scrambling to convince Abbas to abandon his bid for recognition in the United Nations Security Council on Friday, they have now pivoted instead to mitigating its effect and establishing a path back toward negotiations with Israel.

The issue is just one of the many that President Obama will tackle during his annual address to the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday morning.

“Right now, we could not be clearer that we have for some time now opposed Palestinian efforts to pursue statehood on a unilateral basis through the United Nations.  And it’s the United States that is working very aggressively to make that case and to make that clear to all the parties involved,” Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters Tuesday.

“At the end of the day, peace is going to have to be made between the parties; that it can’t be imposed from the outside, that it can’t be accomplished through actions at the United Nations,” he said.

Obama is also expected to address the ongoing democratic transitions around the world, including the revolutions in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Syria, the nonproliferation agenda and the drawdown of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Obama’s UNGA address is just his first speech of the day.  The president will also deliver remarks Wednesday afternoon at the Clinton Global Initiative.

In addition to Abbas and Netanyahu, the president will also meet Wednesday with Prime Minister Noda of Japan, UNGA President Al-Nasser, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, President Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Sarkozy.

Finally, the president and first lady will attend a UNGA reception in the evening before returning to the White House late Wednesday night.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama in New York City for UN General Assembly

The White House/Pete Souza(NEW YORK) -- President Obama is in New York City Tuesday for his first full day at the United Nations General Assembly, where he will meet with world leaders and spend the next two days on a range of issues that include Libya, Afghanistan and the Middle East.

First up is a meeting with the chairman of Libya’s new governing group, the Transitional National Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil.

“We put a lot of effort into Libya in the course of the last several weeks to get international support for post-Gadhafi Libya, and that’s going to be the focus of these meetings,” Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters Monday.

With U.S. support, the TNC was recently seated as a representative of the Libya government at the U.N.

Next, Obama will hold a bilateral meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai to discuss the drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and the transition to Afghan security forces.  This marks the first meeting between the two leaders since the White House announced its plan for withdrawal.

Later, the president will meet with President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil and hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey.

In the evening, the president and first lady will attend a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at Gotham Hall in New York City.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio