Meeting of the Year: U.N. General Assembly
On Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, the U.N. General Assembly met in the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. On the brink of tension between the two, President Obama and President Putin met for the first time in over ten months. The assembly also included some familiar faces including President Xi Jinping of China, President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, and a ton of other leaders. The meeting even included newcomer President Raul Castro of Cuba. Castro is the presidential predecessor of his older brother Fidel Castro. This is Castro’s first visit back to the USA in more than half a century; 1959 to be exact. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon kicked off the proceedings.
Many issues were discussed at this year’s meetings; some were the Syria Conundrum which has been going on for years now. More than 100,000 people have died in the two-year Civil War. The council continued to try to reach an agreement on what should be done with this issue, but the clock is ticking. Syria has agreed to a U.S.-Russia timeline for the removal of its chemical weapons, but the plan has to be recognized as a U.N. resolution.
Another dilemma that was discussed is to whether the U.N. should recognize Palestine as a member state. Last year, Palestinians won recognition from the U.N. General Assembly as a non-member state. Last year, the upgraded diplomatic status gave them access to U.N. bodies. It also raised concerns in Israel that Palestinians would seek membership in agencies such as the International Criminal Court where it can press for war crimes charges against Israel.
New reports have also come out that ISIS is trying to obtain a nuclear weapon; this matter is definitely a strong topic that will be discussed as ISIS has ravaged parts of the Middle East. Nuclear Weapons have raised many eyebrows across the world, and more needs to be done to keep these issues under control. President Obama’s speech touched broadly on the United Nations helping nations work together in a time of threats from terrorism and economic contagion during the General Assembly 70th session, which began Monday morning. "If we cannot work together more effectively, we will all suffer the consequences," he said. President Obama urged Nations to work together to find a way to end the chaos in Syria, and he blamed al-Assad, President of Syria, for creating a power vacuum in the country that has allowed the terror group ISIS to fester. Raul Castro, in his first appearances at the U.N. as president of Cuba, called for an end to the U.S. embargo against his country. Castro commended the resumption of diplomatic relations with the United States but said a long process towards normalization is ahead. "This will only be achieved with the end of the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba," Castro said. Obama then received applause for his comments on Cuba stating that The U.S. Policy on Cuba wasn’t working, so we changed that. Last but not least, the Leaders at the U.N. Assembly should strive to maintain the U.N. ideals and continue to work on making this world a better place.
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