Obama Talks to United Nations

Sep 24, 2013 9:38 AM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - President Barack Obama says the U.N. Security council must agree to a resolution on Syrian chemical weapons that includes consequences for the regime of President Bashar Assad if he doesn't meet demands to dismantle his chemical stockpile.

Obama told his U.N. audience Tuesday that failure to include such consequences would mean the international body is unable to enforce such requirements.

Obama said it would be, quote, "an insult to human reason and the legitimacy" of the U.N. to suggest that the Assad regime did not carry out a chemical attack on civilians last month.

President Barack Obama also says the time is ripe to press for a resolution of the long conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Obama is telling the United Nations' General Assembly in New York that all sides must be willing to take risks in order to achieve Mideast peace.

The president says Israel and its friends must be willing to accept a Palestinian state. And he says Arab states must recognize that stability can only be achieved through a two-state solution with a secure Israel.

Talks on Mideast peace resumed this summer after months of prodding by Secretary of State John Kerry. But the prospect of a resolution on issues that have long had the Israelis and Palestinians at odds remain slim.

Finally, President Barack Obama says he has directed Secretary of State John Kerry to pursue a nuclear weapons agreement with Iran and that he firmly believes "the diplomatic path must be tested."

Obama told the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday he's encouraged that Iranian President Hasan Rouhani is pursuing a more moderate course. But he said Rouhani's "conciliatory words will have to be matched by actions that are transparent and verifiable."

The West has long suspected that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapon. Tehran has consistently denied the charge.

It's still unclear if Obama will meet with Rouhani while at the United Nations. The leaders of the two countries haven't had face-to-face contact in more than 30 years.

U.S. officials say no meeting is planned, although they haven't ruled one out.


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