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UAE calls on world leaders to take a firm stance with Iran – UNGA 2019

  • 28 Sep 2019

UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan said Saturday that Iran's nuclear agreement with world powers should have included the Arab Gulf states, and addressed its ballistic missile program and support for armed groups.

United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., September 28, 2019. ( Reuters )

Day 5, September 28

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have called on world leaders to take a firm stance with Iran, siding squarely with Saudi Arabia after an attack on its oil facilities earlier in the month that has been widely blamed on Tehran.

UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan said Saturday that Iran's nuclear agreement with world powers should have included the Arab Gulf states, and addressed its ballistic missile program and support for armed groups.

Bahrain accused Iran of perpetuating terrorism, and of specifically endorsing militant groups that have transformed Iraq "into a launching pad to hit its targets."

Day 4, September 27

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that the crisis involving Muslim Rohingya refugees from neighbouring Myanmar is "going beyond the camps" where they are staying.

Hasina appealed to the international community to "understand the untenability of the situation" surrounding the refugees from Myanmar, who are fleeing persecution by the military there.

"I would request the international community to understand the untenability of the situation," Hasina said.

"The crisis is now going beyond the camps. Despite all our efforts to contain it, the crisis is now becoming a regional threat."

She said that health and security are becoming problems as congestion and environmental problems increase.

Pakistan's PM Khan warns of bloodbath in Kashmir

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan warned on Friday there would be a bloodbath when India lifts its curfew in India-administered Kashmir and that any all-out conflict between the two nuclear-armed nations would reverberate far beyond their borders.

Khan made the remarks in an impassioned speech to the annual United Nations General Assembly after India last month removed the decades-old autonomy in the part of Kashmir it controls under India's constitution. 

Khan said with 900,000 Indian troops once a curfew is lifted Kashmiris "will be out in the streets. And what will the soldiers do? They will shoot them."

Khan bluntly warned that war was possible over India's actions in Kashmir.

TRT World's Jon Brain explains.

The nuclear-armed rivals, which have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir, have been locked in a worsening standoff since August 5, when Modi stripped the portion of Kashmir that India controls of its limited autonomy.

Modi's Hindu nationalist-led government imposed a sweeping military curfew and cut off residents in the Muslim-majority region from virtually all communications.

Indian PM Modi avoids speaking about Kashmir

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has denounced terrorism but avoided any mention of India's crackdown in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.

Modi told world leaders gathered on Friday at the United Nations General Assembly that India's "voice against terrorism to alert the world about its evil rings with seriousness and outrage.

Day 3, September 26

Saudi Arabia is calling on the world to apply “utmost pressure with every tool available” to end Iran’s aggressive conduct, and says the best way to control Tehran is by cutting off its financial resources.

Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf at the UN General Assembly on Thursday again blamed Iran for the September 14 missile and drone attack on Saudi oil facilities. That attack jolted global oil prices and temporarily knocked out nearly 6 percent of daily global crude production.

Iran has denied any involvement, but Saudi Arabia insists Iranian weapons were used and has invited UN investigators to assess where the strikes were launched from.

The US, France, Britain and Germany also blame Iran, which has been under US sanctions since 2018.

Europe's Tusk: Patriotism needs global dimension

European Council President Donald Tusk said the idea of an imminent clash between globalism and patriotism is “false and dangerous.”

He says history shows how easily love of country can turn into hatred toward neighbouring nations.

Tusk didn’t mention Trump, who was the most prominent of several leaders sounding populist and nationalist themes at the assembly this week. Trump said globalism made past leaders “ignore their own national interests.”

Tusk says he equates globalism with solidarity, a term he prefers.

Solidarity was the name of the pro-democracy movement that rose in his native Poland in the 1980s.

Tshisekedi says he wants UN to continue fighting militias

Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi says he wants UN peacekeepers to continue fighting militias in his country, marking a stark departure from his predecessor.

Tshisekedi told the UN General Assembly that Congo needs a strong, well equipped force that can bring stability to the vast, resource-rich country beset by various rebel groups.

Tshisekedi was speaking for the first time since taking office after former President Joseph Kabila relinquished power after 18 years. Kabila had long said the peacekeeping force was not welcome in his country and wanted it gone.

The Security Council has called for a review of the force, the UN’s biggest, with an eye toward possibly handing power to Congolese forces.

Instability in Congo is particularly worrying because the country is also battling an Ebola outbreak. Tshisekedi said progress was being made in combatting the virus, and new medicine and vaccines are being tested there.

Show 'evidence' Iran attacked Saudi oil facility – Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani challenged the US and others to provide evidence to back up their accusations that Tehran carried out this month's attack on a Saudi oil facility.

"Those who make the allegations must provide the needed proof. What is your evidence?" he told reporters in New York, a day after addressing the UN General Assembly.

"If you do have any evidence or documentation please do make them available to me," Rouhani said, adding that the US, France, Britain and Germany "should stop" supplying weapons to Saudi Arabia.

The Iranian leader also said he would "of course" hold talks with the United States if President Donald Trump lifted sanctions and ended his policy of maximum pressure on Tehran.

"If we reach a time when these preconditions are taken off the table, of course the possibility exists to talk with America," he said at Thursday's press conference.

Abbas urges world to end Israeli aggression

Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas urged the international community Thursday to end Israeli aggression in Palestine.

"What would you do if someone tried to take the land of your country and how would you react," Abbas told the UN General Assembly.

"The international community should uphold its responsibilities to bring an end to this aggression and arrogance," he said.

"It is time to implement the resolution adopted by you, otherwise all these resolutions are pointless."

Palestine will not surrender to Israel's occupation, he said, and he expects the UN to implement just one resolution out of many taken on Palestine.

Abbas said Palestine is a "constructive player" in the international community, and deserves to be a full member of the UN and all its bodies.

"Jerusalem will always remain the eternal capital of Palestine regardless of any schemes and actions," he said and reiterated his support for a two-state solution.

Israeli occupation will inevitably end and Palestine will continue to call for respect to its rights, he said.

Day 2, September 25

World faces new threat from cyber-terrorism - UN chief

Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned the world is facing "an unprecedented threat from intolerance, violent extremism and terrorism" that affects every country, exacerbating conflicts and destabilising entire regions.

The UN chief told a Security Council ministerial meeting "the new frontier is cyber-terrorism – the use of social media and the dark web to coordinate attacks, spread propaganda and recruit new followers."

He stressed that the response to the unprecedented terrorist threat "must complement security measures with prevention efforts that identify and address root causes, while always respecting human rights."

The US and its Western allies echoed the secretary-general.

US deputy ambassador Jonathan Cohen said the world is witnessing this "dangerous approach" in Syria, where the regime and its Russian allies "justify as legitimate counter-terrorist operations airstrikes on civilians, schools, ambulances and hospitals that have killed over a thousand people since April and wounded over 2,000."

The US is also "deeply concerned" by the plight of more than one million ethnic minority Muslims in China's Xinjiang province who have been arbitrarily detained "under the guise of counter-terrorism."

Libyan prime minister rules out talks with rivals

Libya’s Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj has ruled out peace talks with the leader of his country’s rival government, describing him as a “war criminal”.

Sarraj used much of his time to deride Khalifa Haftar and his supporters as “coup plotters” and blame them for Libya’s continued instability.

Sarraj said Haftar was “not a partner for peace.”

Early April, forces loyal to warlord Haftar launched a campaign to capture Tripoli from forces aligned with the UN-recognised GNA.

Clashes between the two sides since then have left more than 1,000 people dead and about 5,500 wounded, according to the World Health Organization.

Libya has remained beset by turmoil since 2011, when long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi was ousted and killed in a bloody NATO-backed uprising after four decades in power.

Trump says he put 'no pressure' on Zelenskiy

President Donald Trump says he placed “no pressure” on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden.

Trump commented during a meeting in New York with Zelenskiy on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.

Asked about their July telephone call, Zelenskiy said it was a “good phone call” and “normal” and that he and Trump discussed “many things.”

Zelenskiy adds: “Nobody pushed me.”

A rough transcript summarising the call that the White House released on Wednesday shows Trump prodded Zelenskiy to work with the US attorney general and Trump’s personal attorney to investigate Biden, a former US vice president.

Colombia's president blasts Venezuela's leader

Colombia's president slammed Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro as a dictator who offers a safe haven for terrorist groups.

In his speech, Ivan Duque said he has proof Maduro is harbouring criminals plotting against Colombia. He vowed to deliver a 128-page dossier to UN leaders outlining the evidence.

Duque said the document includes information on 207 locations inside Venezuela that are controlled by ELN guerrillas. He described the neighbouring Andean nation as "fertile land" for the ELN to expand.

Maduro has denied supporting criminal organisations and accuses Duque of similarly allowing illegal armed groups to flourish.

Erdogan vows to fight Islamophobia 

Muslims are most subjected to hate speech, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, while vowing to defend rights of the people of disputed Kashmir, in an event co-hosted by Turkey and Pakistan on countering hate speech.

"Today, Muslims are the most subjected to hate speech, cultural racism, discrimination, and insults. Muslims' workplaces, homes, worshipping places are targeted by racist and fascist groups almost every day," said the president in a meeting on the sidelines of UNGA.

He said Muslim women are harassed for wearing headscarves on the street and workplaces.

"As a country, which has 6.5 million citizens abroad who are impacted by hate speech and attacks, we cannot overlook this issue," he added.

He also denounced violence against Muslims in India who eat beef and urged respect for freedom of faith.

He said Kashmir has turned into an open-air prison and its residents have become prisoners.

"Important duties fall on all [foreign] state institutions," said Erdogan, and urged more active steps on regional and international levels.

"Turkey is resolved to defend the rights of Muslims living in Jammu and Kashmir and make their entry and exit free," said Erdogan.

The president also criticised the Indian foreign minister and the country's envoys in Turkey for expressing discomfort over Ankara's approach to the Kashmir issue.

Lebanon's Aoun calls for safe return of refugees to Syria

Lebanese President Michel Aoun appealed to world leaders to work on the safe return of refugees to Syria.

He said the presence of hundreds of thousands of refugees in tiny Lebanon has exacerbated the country’s worsening economic crisis. He said their safe return is a joint international responsibility that should be dealt with urgently.

He added that more than 250,000 refugees have returned to Syria from Lebanon "and there has been no information about anyone being persecuted or mistreated."

He said Lebanon will continue to encourage the "voluntary" return of refugees in coordination with the Syrian authorities.

US committing 'merciless economic terrorism' – Rouhani

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani accused the US of "merciless economic terrorism" on Wednesday, using his UN speech to stress that security in the Gulf can be guaranteed only when his nation's security is as well — and only with the involvement of Iran's neighbours.

Rouhani told the UN General Assembly gathering that Iran would not negotiate on the issue of its nuclear programme as long as sanctions remain in place.

"Our response to any negotiation under sanctions is negative," he said adding that Iran has "resisted the most merciless economic terrorism" from a nation that is engaging in "international piracy."

Rouhani also demanded that Saudi Arabia end its offensive in Yemen after an attack in the oil-rich kingdom which Washington blamed on Tehran.

"The security of Saudi Arabia will be guaranteed with the termination of aggression in Yemen, rather than by inviting foreigners," he said.

Rouhani invited regional countries to join a "Coalition for Hope" in which he said they would pledge non-aggression and non-interference in one another's affairs.

Day 1, September 24

Land for proper Rohingya camps - Turkey

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu asked Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to allocate land for "proper camps" for Rohingya refugees. 

Cavusoglu was speaking at a meeting on Rohingya on the margins of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

The minister said the Rohingya crisis is one of the gravest tragedies in the world. 

"We request Bangladesh to allocate land [for building camps] as we did for Syrian refugees in Turkey, which are the best camps in the world," said Cavusoglu.

'If you can do that, we are ready to build proper camps for these vulnerable people."  

"We believe that the international community also should do more to share the burden of Bangladesh in decreasing the problem of Rohingya refugee camps," said Cavusoglu.

'Terrifying limbless chickens' but little Brexit from Johnson

Things the beleaguered British prime minister said in his astonishing speech on Tuesday night: "Pink-eyed Terminators from the future." "Terrifying limbless chickens." "Your fridge will beep for more cheese."

Things Boris Johnson didn’t address with any substance: Brexit. 

The British court ruling earlier in the day that said he acted illegally by dissolving Parliament. 

Many didn't know what to expect Tuesday after the court ruling came down hours before Johnson's inaugural speech as prime minister.

But it's safe to say few anticipated what he dramatically and energetically delivered: a caffeinated screed about the damage that technology can do if misused — and the glories it can hand humanity if it is delivered properly.

In his notably energetic speech, which ended after 10 pm as more than 12 hours of UN speeches were inching to their end, Johnson said he was optimistic about technology's future — if humanity finds "the right balance between freedom and control."

Erdogan pitches for deeper Syria peace corridor 

Erdogan called on UN members to back Ankara's efforts to ensure security in Syria's Idlib to avoid mass migration and massacres.

Turkey is "the most generous country" with humanitarian aid, he said, hosting five million displaced people fleeing conflict, starvation, persecution. 

Holding a picture of Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi, Erdogan said the beached toddler was "quickly forgotten by the world," reminding the world leaders that "the same situation may happen to you one day."

Erdogan also said "efficient functioning" of the Constitutional Committee is "critical for political and territorial unity of Syria".

The PKK/YPG terror group in northern Syria must be dealt with for safety and security of the region, Erdogan said.

The Turkish president also criticised the international community for failing to pay attention to the Kashmir conflict, which has awaited a solution for 72 years.  

Erdogan requested the UN to designate March 15, when the Christchurch attack was carried out in New Zealand, as "International Day for Solidarity against Islamophobia."

He said the international community should provide concrete support to Palestinians beyond mere promises. 

"What is the role and point of the UN if it fails to implement its own resolutions against Israel?" Erdogan asked.

Show courage to build peace – Macron tells US, Iran

The US and Iran need to take a leap of faith and show some courage to build peace, French President Emmanuel Macron said, as he urged them and key powers to negotiate to avoid a wider conflict across the Middle East.

"The attacks on Saudi Arabia have changed the situation. Today the risk is (that things) flare-up because of a miscalculation or a disproportionate response," Macron said.

"More than ever, the time has come to restart negotiations between the US, Iran, the parties to the JCPOA (nuclear deal) and concerned regional powers."

He said he was neither naive nor believed in miracles, but said it was time to build peace.

French President Emmanuel Macron addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York City, New York, US, September 24, 2019.(Reuters)

Trump warns sanctions will be 'tightened' against Iran

Trump said that sanctions on Iran would be further increased unless it halts its "fanatical" weapons drive and "aggression" in the Middle East.

"Hoping to free itself from sanctions, the regime has escalated its violent and unprovoked aggression," Trump said.

"As long as Iran's menacing behaviour continues, sanctions will not be lifted –– they will be tightened." 

Trump also put China on notice, declaring the time of trade "abuses" by Beijing was "over" and calling on the country to protect Hong Kong's "democratic ways of life."

The president implored the world's leaders to prioritise their own nations, with strong borders and one-on-one trade deals, rejecting sweeping transnational organisations and alliances.

Fallacy to say Amazon is heritage of humankind  – Bolsonaro

Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who has come under attack for wildfires that are raging in the Amazon, told the UN the rainforest is his country's sovereign territory.

"It is a fallacy to say that the Amazon is the heritage of humankind, and a misconception confirmed by scientists to say that our Amazon forests are the lungs of the world," he said.

Bolsonaro then hit out at detractors, saying that while every country had problems, sensational reporting in the international media "aroused our patriotic sentiments."

He also defended his record on the treatment of indigenous people and said many backed him.

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro is seen on a video screen as he addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., September 24, 2019.(Reuters)

World splitting into two - Guterres

Guterres warned global leaders of the looming risk of the world splitting in two with the two largest economies, the US and China, creating rival internets, currencies, financial rules "and their own zero-sum geopolitical and military strategies." 

The UN chief said, "We must do everything possible to avert the Great Fracture," and maintain a universal economy in a multipolar world.

Guterres painted a grim picture of a deeply divided and anxious planet facing a climate crisis, "the alarming possibility" of a Gulf conflict, terrorism, and rising inequality.

"We are facing the possibility of an alarming armed conflict in the Gulf that we cannot bear the consequences of. The attack on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities is unacceptable. We need to do everything we can for common sense and sobriety, given that a small miscalculation can lead to a major crisis," he said.

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