The Latest: Record 150-plus world leaders at UN summit

AP News
Posted: Oct 03, 2015 2:02 PM
The Latest: Record 150-plus world leaders at UN summit

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The latest developments from the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, where world leaders are grappling with a multitude of global crises, including the fight against terrorism — the Islamic State in particular — and easing the refugee crisis in the Middle East and North Africa (all times local):


1 p.m.

The United Nations says a record number of world leaders showed up for back-to-back U.N. gatherings that kicked off with a visit from Pope Francis and ended Saturday.

The U.N. General Assembly president told The Associated Press that between 150 and 160 heads of state or government attended a summit to adopt ambitious new global development goals or the annual high-level debate that followed.

Among the leaders present were Russian President Vladimir Putin, on his first U.N. visit in a decade, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who spoke to the U.N. gathering for the first time.

With hundreds of speeches now over, President Mogens Lykketoft says the new session of the General Assembly will be an "exceptionally busy one" as it tackles the refugee crisis, financing the U.N.'s new global development goals and more.


12:45 p.m.

The foreign minister of the Maldives is urging the United Nations on its 70th anniversary to look at the world's problems from every angle — and not remain "trapped in silos."

Dunya Maumoon told the U.N. General Assembly's annual ministerial meeting on Saturday that the Security Council shouldn't be the only place that discusses "guns and bombs."

She asked: "Why can't the Economic and Social Council discuss war and peace? Why can't development, why can't war, have a human rights dimension? Why must issues be confined to one specific body?"

Maumoon called for the U.N. to redefine the issue of security to include all issues that threaten humanity including climate change, which poses a major security threat to her Indian Ocean island nation.


11:30 a.m.

Canada is pledging to accelerate the resettlement of both Syrian and Iraqi refugees but is not pledging to take more in.

Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Jean addressed the U.N. General Assembly of world leaders Saturday.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government said last month it will issue thousands more visas to Syrian refugees before the end of this year by accelerating the processing of applications.

Canada said it will bring in 10,000 refugees by September 2016, 15 months ahead of schedule, but it declined to resettle more Syrian refugees.

The government is trying to counter election-year criticism over its handling of the refugee crisis. Canadians will decide if Harper earns a rare fourth term on Oct. 19.

Harper's government has been criticized for taking in just 2,500 refugees since Jan. 2014.


11:15 a.m.

Hungary's foreign minister is warning that Europe can be destabilized, first on its peripheries and then even at its center, if countries can't get control of their borders and decrease the influx of migrants.

Peter Szijjarto told the U.N. General Assembly's annual ministerial meeting on Saturday that "this is a mass migration with an unlimited source of supply of people, and if we cannot stop the influx shortly, than this challenge will stay with us for a long time."

He stressed that this is a global problem and outlined a five-point plan to tackle it: step up international efforts against the Islamic State extremist group, stabilize the Mideast and North Africa, create world quotas for the relocation of migrants, strengthen U.N. peacekeeping missions, and fully implement the 17 new U.N. development goals.


11 a.m.

Eritrea has declared it is making "remarkable progress" in respecting human rights, even after a U.N. commission of inquiry said the east African country keeps its people in a state of fear through a "pervasive control system."

Foreign Minister Osman Saleh on Saturday addressed the U.N. General Assembly of world leaders, a chance for countries to present their view of events at home and abroad.

The authoritarian country is a major origin of refugees who try to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. The commission of inquiry in June said Eritreans are fleeing a "seemingly hopeless situation they feel powerless to change" and that Eritrean refugees need international protection.

But Saleh said his country is "stabilizing illegal migration."

He also condemned "illegitimate" international sanctions against his country.


10:40 a.m.

The foreign minister of Oman says the historic nuclear agreement between Iran and six major powers is a model to solve controversial and complicated issues between countries on the basis of dialogue and negotiations.

Yousef bin Alawi bin Abdullah expressed hope in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly's annual ministerial meeting Saturday that the historic agreement would promote regional and international peace and security and pave the way for a new era of relations based on cooperation, respect and mutual trust.

He also called on all parties fighting in Syria and its neighbors to support U.N. special envoy Staffan de Mistura's latest effort to revive negotiations and restore peace to the country. And he urged the international community "to exert more efforts" to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people.


10:30 a.m.

The Western-backed Syrian National Coalition opposition group says its leader has met with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and urged him to speak out against Russian airstrikes.

A coalition statement says Khaled Khoja met with Ban on Friday. "The statement from the Secretary-General must be stronger and must condemn the over 50 innocent civilian casualties of the Russian airstrikes," it says.

The U.N. did not issue a meeting summary, as it does for Ban's meetings. A spokesman on Saturday said one was not coming.

The coalition statement says Friday's discussion was "constructive and frank," and Khoja warned Ban that Syrians "were losing faith in the U.N., and needed the U.N. to stand beside them."

The U.N. chief has spoken repeatedly of his "shame" that Syria's grinding conflict has not been resolved.