Obama to Address UN on Arab Spring, Mideast Peace Efforts

Posted September 21st, 2011 at 5:15 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to focus on the U.S. response to the “Arab Spring” and Mideast peace efforts when he delivers his address at the annual gathering of the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.

The White House says Mr. Obama will speak about the “unprecedented mandate” to intervene in Libya as an example of what international cooperation can achieve, and discuss the U.S. response to a year of “seismic” democratic change in the Arab world.

A preview of the speech released Tuesday said the president will also speak about a “new era of engagement” in which his administration “ended needless American isolation on a range of issues.”

Mr. Obama's U.N. speech comes as the United States and its key diplomatic partners are involved in intense diplomacy to stem a Palestinian effort to secure statehood recognition by the U.N. Security Council.

On Tuesday, White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said the president will underscore firm U.S. support for Israel, while also emphasizing that any meaningful solution must come about by direct negotiations.

Immediately following the speech, President Obama plans to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas later in the day.

On Tuesday, world leaders met to discuss international support for Libya's transitional government. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon chaired the Libya Contact Group meeting, where he said the challenges Libya faces are “large.”

President Obama assured the Libyan leaders that they will have a “friend and partner” that will assist them in developing security, providing humanitarian aid and peacefully transitioning to democracy.