A Look At Obama's Agenda At The U.N. President Obama spent the day meeting with foreign leaders in advance of his address to the United Nations General Assembly, which comes at a moment when Palestinians are pressing for the organization's recognition of their rights as a state. Melissa Block talks to NPR's Ari Shapiro.
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A Look At Obama's Agenda At The U.N.

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A Look At Obama's Agenda At The U.N.

A Look At Obama's Agenda At The U.N.

A Look At Obama's Agenda At The U.N.

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/140644527/140646946" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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President Obama spent the day meeting with foreign leaders in advance of his address to the United Nations General Assembly, which comes at a moment when Palestinians are pressing for the organization's recognition of their rights as a state. Melissa Block talks to NPR's Ari Shapiro.

LYNN NEARY, Host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary.

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

And, Ari, let's start first with a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan today that killed the former president of that country, Burhanuddin Rabbani. President Obama met with the current Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, at the U.N. today. What happened?

ARI SHAPIRO: After this meeting, President Karzai left to return to Afghanistan and deal with the fallout from these attacks.

BLOCK: Now, Ari, the issue that's dominating the gathering of the General Assembly is the Palestinians' quest for statehood. Where does that stand?

SHAPIRO: American officials keep saying they believe the path to a two-state solution runs through direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, not through the United Nations. Here's what Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said this afternoon.

BEN RHODES: But I think the point that the president will make is, at the end of the day, peace is going to have to be made between the parties; that it can't be imposed from the outside, that it can't be accomplished through actions at the United Nations.

BLOCK: And that discussion right now, Ari, mostly happening behind the scenes. But in public, the focus this morning was on Libya. Describe what happened there.

SHAPIRO: And for President Obama, he sort of used it as a moment of vindication for his foreign policy. He said this affirms his multilateral approach to global problems. And he said, while there will be challenges ahead, this is the way the international community is supposed to work in the 21st century.

BARACK OBAMA: More nations bearing the responsibility and the costs of meeting global challenges. In fact, this is the very purpose of this United Nations. So every nation represented here today can take pride in the innocent lives we saved and in helping Libyans reclaim their country. It was the right thing to do.

BLOCK: And, Ari, tomorrow morning, the president will be addressing the U.N. General Assembly. What can you tell us about what he plans to say?

SHAPIRO: You know, just a couple of years ago, there was a big brouhaha over where Moammar Gadhafi would park his tent during the United Nations General Assembly. Now, his regime has fallen. And President Obama will also talk about drawing down U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, the death of Osama bin Laden. He'll say that al-Qaida has deteriorated, and, of course, he'll return to the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

BLOCK: OK. NPR's Ari Shapiro in New York, thanks very much.

SHAPIRO: Good to talk to you.

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