Middle East Again Major Focus at U.N. General Assembly

Posted September 26th, 2012 at 10:50 am (UTC-5)
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Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday is delivering his last address to the United Nations General Assembly as Iran's president.

Mr. Ahmadinejad's speech comes a day after U.S. President Barack Obama restated previous warnings that the United States and its allies would not allow Tehran to develop a nuclear weapon. Mr. Obama added that time was running out to reach a diplomatic solution.

The U.S. says it will boycott Mr. Ahmadinejad's speech. U.S. mission to the United Nations spokesman Eric Pelton says Mr. Ahmadinejad has used his trip to the U.N. to “spout paranoid theories and repulsive slurs against Israel.” He said it is unfortunate that the Iranian leader will have the U.N. platform on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Mr. Ahmadinejad dismissed the American president's warnings, saying the era of U.S. domination of world affairs was coming to an end.

He told the news agency,”God willing, a new order will come together and we'll do away with everything that distances us.”

Mr. Ahmadinejad's second term as Iran's president ends next June. Under Iranian law, he cannot run for a third term.

The recent unrest in the Middle East will continue to be the major focus of the U.N. General Assembly Wednesday, as Egypt's newly elected president, Mohamed Morsi, delivers his first speech to the global body.

Syria's unrest also been at the forefront of this week's speeches.

Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi said Wednesday that Syria's only option was to agree on an initiative for a peaceful change and a transfer of power through elections.

Separately, Arab League chief Nabil El-Araby said he “pitied” his colleague Lakhdar Brahimi because the U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria was facing an “impossible job.” In a Wednesday news conference at the U.N., El-Araby said he hoped the Security Council could reach an agreement on how to move ahead on Syria.

On Tuesday, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon opened the General Assembly by calling the unrest in Syria “a regional calamity with global ramifications.” He accused both the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and the opposition of crimes against humanity.

Also Tuesday, Mr. Obama renewed calls for an end to Mr. Assad's regime. He said Syria's future must not belong to a dictator who massacres his people.