President Barack Obama commits US to blueprint to eliminate poverty and hunger around the world

September 28, 2015 4:09 pm

 

Obama makes forceful defence of new goals. Photo / Getty.

on Sunday committed the to a new blueprint
to eliminate poverty and hunger around the world, telling a global
summit that a sweeping new development agenda is “not charity but
instead is one of the smartest investments we can make in our own
future.”
It was the first of two addresses Obama is making at the
. His second on Monday morning, to the annual UN General
Assembly of world leaders, will be a broader examination of world
issues, especially the ever-more complicated conflict in Syria and the
related refugee crisis.
As Secretary of State John Kerry put it
after a meeting on the sidelines Sunday, “It would be a complete
understatement to say that we meet at a challenging time.”
Obama
offered a powerful defence of a 15-year development agenda that will
require trillions of dollars of effort from countries, companies and
civil society.

He told delegates that 800 million men, women and children
scrape by on less than $1.25 a day and that billions of people are at
risk of dying from preventable diseases. He called it a “moral outrage”
that many children are just one mosquito bite away from death.
And,
with a possible nod toward his address on Monday, he noted that
“military interventions might have been avoided over the years” if
countries had spent more time, money and effort on caring for their own
people. That line drew applause.
“Development is threatened by
war,” Obama said, and war often arises from bad governance. Addressing
the world’s greatest refugee crisis since World War II as millions flee
conflict in Syria and elsewhere, he said countries “that can, must do
more to accommodate refugees” but added those efforts must be matched by
diplomacy.
The leaders of Britain, France, Japan and Turkey also
were addressing the final day of the development summit. On Monday, the
annual General Assembly high-level debate gives countries a chance to
lay out their broader vision before the world.
World leaders have
already begun a whirlwind series of closed-door meetings on Syria on
the UN sidelines. Obama meets Monday with Russian President Vladimir
Putin, who hasn’t shown up to the UN meeting for a decade.
Earlier
Sunday, French President Francois Hollande announced his country’s
first airstrikes in Syria, raising the stakes in a region where a US-led
coalition nervously watches a new Russian military buildup near Syria’s
Mediterranean coast.
Putin is expected to make a strong defence
of those moves and urge countries to join a Russian-led effort against
extremist groups like the Islamic State group. On Sunday, Iraq’s
military said it will begin sharing “security and intelligence”
information with Russia, Syria and Iran to help combat IS.
“We
coordinate the efforts against ISIL,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey
Lavrov told reporters just before meeting Kerry on Sunday, referring to
an acronym for the group.
Kerry disagreed, telling reporters:
“This is not yet coordinated. I think we have concerns about how we’re
going to go forward, but that’s precisely what we’re meeting on to talk
about now.”
Iran is also a major question, with the
and the United Nations both reaching out in the diplomatic glow of the
new nuclear deal for the Islamic Republic’s help in finding political
solutions in Syria and the newer conflict in Yemen as well.
Iran
President Hassan Rouhani is already at the UN summit and is set to
address the UN gathering Monday morning along with Obama, Putin and
Chinese President Xi Jinping — who is making his first appearance here.
Amid
the bustle of the back-to-back summit speeches Sunday, Brazil’s
president announced her country’s climate commitment ahead of a global
summit in December in Paris aimed at a climate treaty. President Dilma
Rousseff said Brazil will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 37 per
cent by 2025 from 2005 levels as part of its contribution to a pact to
fight global warming.
And the current refugee and migrant crisis
is another top issue under feverish discussion. Venezuela’s President
Nicolas Maduro spun the crisis into a chance to make a thinly veiled
critique of the United States, blaming the problem on “unjust wars,
imperialist wars, the attempt to control the world, one hegemon trying
to impose its view on the world.”
North Korea was harsher on
Washington. It’s foreign minister, Ri Su Yong, accused the United States
of trying to “suffocate” it through sanctions.
The sanctions
imposed by Washington are in retaliation for Pyongyang’s refusal to
mothball its nuclear weapons program. Ri said the US measures are a
result of America’s “inveterate animosity and hostile policy” aimed at
toppling the communist system.

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