Obama presses for Mideast peace in UN address
Thursday, September 23, 2021 10:40 AM

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(Source: Associated Press/AP Online)By MATTHEW LEE

UNITED NATIONS - Exhorting world leaders to push past years of cynicism and pessimism, President Barack Obama challenged the countries of the United Nations on Thursday to unite around peace efforts that he said could achieve agreement within a year to create an independent Palestine and a secure Israel.

Obama, in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly, urged fellow world leaders to press forward with renewed determination in the quest for Mideast peace, an effort that he acknowledged has encountered "few peaks and many valleys."

Without an agreement, he said, "more blood will be shed" and "this Holy Land will remain a symbol of our differences, instead of our common humanity."

Obama, in his second address to the world body, spoke with resolve of the need to address trouble spots around the world, but he tended first to the economic concerns that abound both at home and abroad.

"There is much to show for our efforts," he said, recalling the economic turmoil of years past. "We cannot - and will not - rest until these seeds of progress grow into a broader prosperity for all Americans and for people around globe."

On a pressing security issue, Obama defended his administration's approach to engaging Iran in negotiations over its nuclear program - an effort that has failed thus far. In July the administration imposed a new set of sanctions on Iran.

"The door remains open to diplomacy should Iran choose to walk through it," he said. "But the Iranian government must demonstrate a clear and credible commitment and confirm to the world the peaceful intent of its nuclear program."

Iran recently has indicated interest in restarting talks with the West, and on Wednesday the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany offered Iran another chance to enter negotiations.

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