UN General Assembly Opening News

An update on the most important (downer? political drama?) multilateral meetings this fall, the UN General Assembly session, emphasizing the rule of law, featuring Aung San Suu Kyi, Palestinians still working the angles, and Bill Clinton stealing their thunder:

“Everybody will think of Syria, everybody will speak of Syria, especially in the speeches to the General Assembly, but I don’t see anything substantial on Syria coming out of the meetings,” said one veteran Western diplomat, speaking anonymously under his ministry’s rules.

That would be consistent with the United Nations’ seeming return to the way it operated during the cold war, when the divisions between East and West and rich and poor states meant it provided a venue for discussion but few solutions.

President Obama, wrestling with a difficult election, will practice something like drive-by diplomacy, hosting a reception for world leaders on Monday night and speaking at the official opening on Tuesday.

via At United Nations, Renewed Focus on Syria, if Not New Ideas – NYTimes.com.

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5 thoughts on “UN General Assembly Opening News

  1. marianorfila says:

    Lakhdar Brahimi said, in a U.N general Assembly meeting on Monday: “”I think there is no disagreement anywhere that the situation in Syria is extremely bad and getting worse, that it is a threat to the region and a threat to peace and security in the world,” (http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/Morning_Brief). After this meeting we can see that the settlement remains the same with little progress. New ideas are appearing in order to settle peace in the region. Brahimi, is crafting a new peace plan to replace a failed plan that was proposed by Kofi Annan. Even with all the new ideas coming up, the violence in Syria is still growing. I do have hope that the U.N. talks could help such issues, however, a rational side of me still agrees with the New York times article, in which settlement will remain deadlocked and with little change.

  2. I think that this article is a little bit overdramatic. WHile not a lot of progress may have been made so far on the situation in Syria, the point of the UN is for nations to come together and negotiate solutions to better the world. Negotiations take time, and negotiations move at their own pace. I think that comparing the current negotiations on Syria to the cold war is just a bit much. WIth many new ideas still being brought to the table, I think that it is still too early to say whether or not negotiations will become stagnant, with lots of talk and little action. Maybe this is just the idealist in me that is a strong believer in the power of the UN, but I still think that a solution can be made to establish peace in Syria

  3. President Obama delivered his UN speech just a couple of hours ago and placed heavy emphasis on the dangers of extremism. I’m glad that he spent so much time discussing our country’s reaction to the death of Ambassador Stevens. I think that that issue takes serious precedence over many others — and is especially pertinent in the UN, where so many men and women find themselves as diplomatic leaders for their respective countries. I really hope that President Obama’s words got through to the other leaders — especially the Middle Eastern leaders who are in NYC right now and yet are able to sleep well knowing that the chances of a riotous mob of angry Americans breaking into their hotel room is unlikely. If a room full of diplomats can’t agree that there needs to be greater respect for diplomatic personnel around the globe — regardless of their respective nationalities — I’m not sure what other messages will get through to them.

    Obama nailed it on the head in his speech: “Today, we must affirm that our future will be determined by people like Chris Stevens, and not by his killers. Today, we must declare that this violence and intolerance has no place among our United Nations.”

    Part of the text of his speech can be found here:
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/09/25/did-obama-stand-up-for-a-free-society-at-the-un0.html

    The BBC summed up the speech nicely, I thought:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19709969

  4. cheholmes5 says:

    I agree with the veteran Western diplomat. That has proven to be the case many times in the past when referring to UN sanctions. There are few times when the UN has been successful in giving sanctions. More often then not, the UN does just discuss problems rather than follow through on the resolutions they provide. This is an experienced diplomat who has experienced this many times, and we must consider what he is saying. He knows much more about how the UN works and has seen it more than any of the outsiders have. Looking at how complicated the situation is in Syria, this could turn out to be just like the way the UN operated in the Cold War. I will agree that it may not look 100% like it, but it will look similar to it.

    http://www.cfr.org/un/un-sanctions-mixed-record/p12045

  5. mitchmender says:

    The comment by a certain western ambassador, “The Americans have a talent for finding reasons not to act on the peace process,” struck me as very interesting and bold. I do not agree with that and wonder if he meant to say “finding reasons to act how we would like” There is plenty of excitement now in the middle east with plenty of ideas being put forth. I really liked what president Obama said in his speech today referring to the attacks on US citizens saying that they “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.” He is calling here for continued progress in peace negotiations. I hope in the following weeks to see more definite answers being given.

    http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/foreign-policy/item/12980-at-un-obama-declares-progress-toward-true-democracy

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