World Leaders Arrive For UN General Assembly in New York

Posted September 19th, 2011 at 11:18 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

World leaders are arriving in New York City for the annual United Nations General Assembly, where the Palestinians' bid for full membership is expected to dominate the conversation.

More than 100 heads of state and government will gather for this week's high-level meetings, which will focus on issues like nutrition and non-communicable diseases, desertification, nuclear safety and the future of Libya and the Palestinian state.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced last week he will submit an application to the UN Security Council to become a full member state. The move has heightened controversy over the Israeli-Palestinian dispute ahead of the United Nations meeting, with the United States and Israel leading the opposition to the plan. Mr. Abbas will address the assembly on Friday.

The future of Libya is also expected to take center stage, as officials of the country's interim government make their first appearance in New York. The United Nations voted overwhelmingly last week to turn over Libya's seat in the international assembly to leaders of the country's National Transitional Council, effectively recognizing the end of Colonel Mommar Gadhafi's decades-long rule.

U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders will sit down with a NTC leader, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, to discuss how to help rebuild the country after months of clashes between opposition forces and Gadhafi loyalists. Mr. Obama will offer his support for Libya's fledgling new government and discuss plans for a post-Gadhafi transition.

South Sudan, the world's newest country, will make its first appearance at this week's high-level talks. President Salva Kiir will meet with President Obama on the sidelines of the high-level talks and address the assembly on Friday.

The United Nations General Assembly officially kicks off Tuesday, but leaders are meeting Monday to discuss the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases worldwide.