Sep 23 2013

UN General Assembly Kicks Off in New York, With Syria, Iran, and Sudan Posing Challenges For Obama

The United Nation’s General Assembly meets this week at its headquarters in New York city, providing President Barack Obama with a number of diplomatic opportunities.

Negotiations between the US and Russia over Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal are likely to continue, with the hope of progress on some sticking points.

Also likely to be discussed are US-brokered peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority against the backdrop of a successful Palestinian bid for conditional statehood.

And, Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani, in an interview last week made bold overtures toward diplomacy with the US leading many to speculate whether or not Obama will take him up. Rouhani’s predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad often used the microphone at UN meetings to lambast the US.

Meanwhile, Obama faces hostility from Bolivia and Venezuela, who’s presidents in recent days have threatened to sue the US at the United Nations over so-called “crimes against humanity” and urged other Latin American leaders to boycott the General Assembly meeting.

GUEST: Phyllis Bennis is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, and author of Calling the Shots: How Washington Dominates Today’s UN.

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