September 20, 2011

The United Nations

A look at the issues world leaders are exploring at the UN General Assembly this week.

Justin: Think of the General Assembly as something of a worldwide main event. It is where presidents, prime ministers and other international leaders come together to discuss the biggest issues facing our world today. Here is how it all got started:

Back in 1945, a document called the Charter of the United Nations set up the General Assembly, or GA. Today, it is made up of 193 nations, including countries like the U.S. and China.

Every September, representatives from each country meet at the UN building in New York City. During these meetings, the GA stays pretty busy. One of their major goals is to maintain international peace and promote human rights. And right now, a controversial proposal from the Palestinian prime minister is raising eyebrows because it could potentially increase tensions in an already tense region. The proposal? To make the unrecognized region of Palestine its own state, like its neighbor Israel. For years, Palestinians and Israelis have been at odds over their border, with their clashes often turning violent.

The U.S. has asked Mr. Abbas to drop the statehood application and, instead, continue negotiations with Israel.

That is not the only issue the GA will have to tackle. It is also focusing on preventing diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer — all illnesses the Assembly says are plaguing the world.

President Obama is scheduled to address the Assembly, and so will Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He is expected to voice his support for Palestinian statehood.

And there will also be some new faces this year. The newly-created nation of South Sudan is making its first ever appearance at the General Assembly.

The Assembly is also set to address the outcome of the so-called Arab Spring, the protests that are changing the balance of power in the Middle East. They will specifically look at countries like Libya and Syria, where demonstrations have turned into deadly clashes.

President Obama is expected to meet with members of Libya’s new government. They were part of the campaign to push the country’s former leader Muammar Qaddafi out of power. And for the past several months, the world has watched Syria’s violent crackdown on anti-government protestors.

The General Assembly is expected to come together and figure out how to handle the situation.

Justin Finch, Channel One News.


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