Lead­ers rage against neigh­bors on 2nd day of UN de­bate

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS - By Alexan­dra Ol­son

UNITED NA­TIONS >> World lead­ers from Pak­istan to Ukraine un­leashed their re­gional griev­ances Wed­nes­day, tak­ing the stage of the U.N. Gen­eral Assem­bly to rage against their neigh­bors and pre­sent­ing a pic­ture of a chaotic world con­sumed by in­tractable con­flicts.

A few paces from the Gen­eral Assem­bly hall, the United States and Rus­sia bit­terly at­tacked each other dur­ing a Se­cu­rity Coun­cil meet­ing meant to sal­vage Syria’s fal­ter­ing cease-fire. Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Ban Ki­moon im­plored Syria’s war­ring par­ties to lay down their arms.

In the midst of the anger, a few bright spots emerged on the sec­ond day of the an­nual U.N. gath­er­ing of heads of states. Colom­bia basked in world praise when it pre­sented its newly reached peace agree­ment with left­ist rebels to the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil. For­mer po­lit­i­cal pris­oner Aung San Suu Kyi made her first Gen­eral Assem­bly speech since she formed a demo­crat­i­cally elected gov­ern­ment in Myan­mar.

But on the In­ter­na­tional Day of Peace, ten­sions from all parts of the planet filled the halls of the United Na­tions.

Chi­nese Premier Li Ke­qiang voiced his coun­try’s mount­ing frus­tra­tion with ally North Korea’s pur­suit of nu­clear weapons, high­light­ing the ur­gency of reach­ing “a com­pre­hen­sive po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion on the Korean nu­clear is­sue.”

Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe de­voted about half of his ad­dress to North Korea, which ear­lier this month con­ducted its fifth nu­clear test in de­fi­ance of re­peated Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions in­tended to con­strain its weapons de­vel­op­ment.

Abe said North Korea this year fired three mis­siles into Ja­pan’s ex­clu­sive eco­nomic zone and it was a mat­ter of luck that no ships or air­craft were dam­aged. He urged unity in the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil to con­front the North Korean threat.

“We must con­cen­trate our strengths and thwart North Korea’s plans,” Abe said.

Some of the an­gri­est words came from the ri­val­ries be­tween Pak­istan, Afghanistan and In­dia.

Pak­istani Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif de­liv­ered a blis­ter­ing at­tack on neigh­bor­ing In­dia while, across the world, gun­bat­tles raged for a sec­ond day be­tween In­dian sol­diers and sus­pected rebels in the dis­puted ter­ri­tory of Kash­mir.

Sharif de­manded a U.N. in­ves­ti­ga­tion against “bru­tal­i­ties per­pe­trated by the In­dian oc­cu­py­ing forces,” say­ing “in­no­cent Kash­miri chil­dren, women and men” have been killed, blinded and in­jured.

Mo­ments ear­lier, Pak­istan came un­der at­tack from Afghanistan.

Vice Pres­i­dent Sar­war Danesh said “mer­ci­less at­tacks from ter­ror­ist groups” against its civil­ians are be­ing planned and or­ga­nized on Pak­istani ter­ri­tory. He said Afghanistan has re­peat­edly asked Pak­istan to de­stroy known ter­ror­ist safe havens but there has been no change in the sit­u­a­tion.

Sharif shot back that Pak­istan has suf­fered from spillover of Afghanistan’s in­ter­nal con­flicts for more than three decades and “progress will be as­sured only when the Afghan par­ties them­selves con­clude that there is no mil­i­tary so­lu­tion to the Afghan war.”

There was pos­i­tive news in Ukraine, where the gov­ern­ment and sep­a­ratist rebels agreed Wed­nes­day to pull back troops and weapons from sev­eral ar­eas in east­ern Ukraine in an at­tempt to up­hold a frag­ile peace agree­ment reached last year.

But at the United Na­tions, Ukrainian Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko lam­basted Rus­sia for be­ing “the in­sti­ga­tor and ma­jor par­tic­i­pant” in the con­flict in east­ern Ukraine.

“The ter­ror­ist com­po­nent of the un­de­clared hybrid war that Rus­sia wages against Ukraine is ev­i­dent,” Poroshenko said.

Respite from the in­vec­tive came from Colom­bia, which ap­peared at the an­nual U.N. gath­er­ing as a coun­try in peace for the first time in five decades.

Colom­bian Pres­i­dent Juan Manuel San­tos de­voted al­most his en­tire speech to the peace deal reached with the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Armed Forces of Colom­bia, which will be signed in Carta­gena later this month and must be sub­mit­ted to a na­tional ref­er­en­dum on Oct. 2.

“A new Colom­bia greets the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to­day,” San­tos said. “A Colom­bia full of hope. A Colom­bia that, with­out a war, is ready to reach its high­est po­ten­tial and to be a pos­i­tive fac­tor in the global con­text.”

He later met with Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, who praised the peace ac­cord as an “achieve­ment of his­toric pro­por­tions.”

Ban com­mended San­tos for his “vi­sion and de­ter­mi­na­tion.”


Pak­istani Prime Min­is­ter Muham­mad Nawaz Sharif speaks dur­ing the 71st ses­sion of the United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly at U.N. head­quar­ters, Wed­nes­day.

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