UN General Assembly’s Annual Meeting Opens Tuesday

Posted September 20th, 2011 at 12:22 am (UTC-5)
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The annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly opens Tuesday, with more than 100 world leaders gathered to discuss a wide range of issues including the Palestinian statehood application, the future of a post-Gadhafi Libya and non-communicable diseases.

Topping the agenda is the question of U.N. membership for a Palestinian state, but many other issues will be discussed, including the political transition in Libya. Last week, the U.N. Security Council voted overwhelmingly to turn over Libya's General Assembly seat to the country's National Transitional Council, effectively recognizing the end of the Gadhafi regime.

U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in New York Monday afternoon with a full schedule of meetings. Mr. Obama plans to meet with Libyan NTC leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil. Mr. Obama also will meet the president of the world's newest country South Sudan, President Salva Kiir. Later in the week President Obama is to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Mr. Obama is to address the U.N. General Assembly Wednesday.

Monday, prominent female politicians led by Secretary of State Clinton and Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff urged a greater political role for women across the world. According to the U.N., women count for less than ten percent of world leaders.

Ahead of the official opening, the General Assembly began a two-day meeting Monday, focusing on the world's biggest killer, non-communicable diseases. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the meeting and criticized businesses that market processed foods. This is only the second time the General Assembly has focused on a health issue. A decade ago it took up the AIDS epidemic, leading to progress in preventing and treating the disease around the world.