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Obama to Make Case for Diplomacy in UN Address

President Barack Obama will make the case for diplomacy and collective action – highlighting U.S.-led efforts in the Middle East – when he addresses the United Nations General Assembly on Monday. 

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, to travel to JFK International Airport in New York.

A White House official said Obama will point to the recently completed nuclear deal between the P5+1 and Iran as an example of “what can be accomplished by international cooperation when nations are held accountable for violating international rules, and principled diplomacy is pursued to achieve our objectives.”

The U.S. president also will address the conflict in Syria, calling for the need to couple military efforts against the Islamic State militant group “with a commitment by all nations to seek and support a political resolution” in the war-torn country.

Obama administration officials have repeatedly said that such a political transition cannot occur as long as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remains in power. That issue is expected to be a focus of Obama’s talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin later on Monday.

The meeting will be the first time Obama and Putin have held formal talks since the June 2013 G-8 summit, and it comes at the repeated request of Moscow, according to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. It also comes amid U.S. concerns about Russia expanding its military presence in Syria.

“President Obama will make clear once again that Russia doubling down on their support for the Assad regime is a losing bet,” Earnest told reporters last week.

Ukraine will top the agenda, with Obama pressing Putin to live up to the commitments made under the agreement reached in Minsk. U.S officials say Moscow continues to arm and support separatists in eastern Ukraine, despite months of economic sanctions that have crippled the Russian economy.

“A meeting like this does have the potential for giving the United States greater insight into exactly what Russia’s intentions are,” the White House press secretary said.

During Monday’s U.N. General Assembly speech, a White House official says the American president will draw on recent history to “make the case that nations succeed when they work cooperatively, and are weaker – and ultimately fail – when they pursue a path of aggression.”

The official says Obama also will call for the upholding of human rights while underscoring that security “depends upon making progress in advancing health, development, trade and combating climate change so that we are reducing the causes of instability in our world.”

The president touched on some of those causes during remarks at the closing session Sunday of the U.N. Sustainable Development Summit, where he called on nations to act collectively to end extreme poverty. –voa-


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