In parting words to UN, Obama calls for ‘course correction’


World leaders at UN must tackle Syria, extremism, refugees

“The world is too small for us to simply build a wall and prevent it from affecting our own societies”, Obama said Tuesday, the third speaker in a list of almost 200 as each member and observer nation of the UN delivers remarks over the next several days.

“We see liberal societies express opposition when women choose to cover themselves”, Obama said.

He said governing had become more hard as people lose faith in public institutions and tensions among nations spiral out of control more rapidly.

Speaking about the global economy, the US President said: “It starts with making the global economy work better for all people, and not just for those at the top”.

President Barack Obama, in his eighth and last address to the UN General Assembly as the leader of the United States, at once defended his foreign policy of multilateral engagement and took a swipe at the Republican presidential nominee who seeks to replace him.

President Obama calls on United Nations to address global refugee crisis; Donald Trump calls for moratorium on refugees entering the United States.

“This is the paradox that defines the world today”, the president said.

In a sweeping address that touched on the world’s trouble spots – including the 5-year-old civil war in Syria, the refugee crisis stemming from that nation and elsewhere, and creeping authoritarianism in Russian Federation and Eastern Europe – Obama suggested they all are related to each other, and to a drive toward isolationism.

“I believe that at this moment we all face a choice”, he said during a 50-minute speech.

“Our identities … don’t have to be defined in opposition to other, but rather by a belief in liberty and equality and justice, fairness”, Obama said, going on to quote King.

“We have to imagine what it would be like for our family, for our children”. The SDGs, launched a year ago by the global community, lay out a 15-year blueprint created to eliminate extreme poverty around the globe.

“I am more convinced than ever [that we can] end war, poverty and persecution”, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his own opening remarks.

His solution to these problems is a continued embrace of globalization with a focus on closing the gap between rich and poor and promoting liberal human rights.

He added that “red lines were set for the regime who has violated them, yet those who demarcated those lines have not felt provoked to raise a finger”.

With anger in his voice, United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon criticised world leaders who keep “feeding the war machine” in Syria in his last speech before the General Assembly as secretary-general.

Hamad Elgizouli, Sudan’s commissioner of refugees, speaks during the Summit for Refugees and Migrants at United Nations headquarters, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016.

Obama, who stands down in January after eight years in office, acknowledged that the extremist and sectarian violence wreaking havoc in the Middle East and elsewhere “will not be quickly reversed”.

Obama’s speech in NY was a defence of globalism and an attack on authoritarians, tribalists and populists in which he never mentioned the Republican vying to succeed him in office.

“Sometimes I’m criticized in my own country for professing a belief in worldwide norms and multilateral institutions”, Mr. Obama said.

“The enduring appeal of ethnic and sectarian identities have left global institutions underfunded and unequipped to handle transnational challenges”, he said.