Iraq, South Sudan Slated to Speak at UN Friday

Posted September 23rd, 2011 at 9:14 am (UTC-5)
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The United Nations General Assembly holds its third day of general debate Friday, with the leaders of Iraq, the new country of South Sudan, and Israel slated to speak.

General debate continues on Saturday and Monday through Friday of next week.

On Thursday, in one of the most controversial of the speeches, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad harshly criticized the United States, Israel, and the West, accusing them of provoking wars, causing worldwide recession, and spreading “totalitarianism.”

His statements provoked a walkout by delegations from the United States, France, and more than two dozen other nations. The speech came after several hundred protesters rallied outside the United Nations, voicing their displeasure over Mr. Ahmadinejad's presence at the General Assembly.

Iran is at odds with European governments and the Obama administration for its nuclear program. Mr. Ahmadinejad often uses appearances on the international stage to demand less Western influence in directing global concerns.

British Prime Minister David Cameron also addressed the assembly Thursday, focusing on the transition to democracy in the Middle East. He called on Western nations to provide assistance to the fledgling governments in the “Arab Spring” countries, but cautioned them not to impose their own values.

And Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged world leaders to put pressure on Israel to achieve peace with the Palestinians and to not allow them to act above the law.