Donald Trump leads UN Security Council meeting for first time
Trump, seated at the centre of an arc-shaped table, immediately uttered tough words against Iran, saying that a government with Iran’s track record “must never be allowed to obtain” a nuclear weapon.
At the same time, he thanked Iran, Russia and Syria for slowing their attack on Idlib province in Syria. Last week, Russia and Turkey reached a deal to avert an offensive against Idlib, the last major rebel-held stronghold in Syria.
He also said China was interfering in the U.S. midterm elections, but offered no details about the claim except to say that Beijing opposes his trade policy.
While Wednesday’s meeting of the council will be addressing the issue of nonproliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, Trump himself has left little doubt that it’ll be another chance to target Tehran.
On Tuesday, during an unabashedly “America First” speech, Trump said Iranian leaders “sow chaos, death and destruction” and “spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond.” His national security adviser, John Bolton, warned that there would be “hell to pay” if Tehran crossed the U.S., its allies or their partners.
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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responded by accusing the Trump administration of violating the rules of international law and “state obligations” by withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran signed with the U.S. and five other major powers.
Rouhani is almost certain not to attend the Security Council meeting that will test Trump’s ability to maintain diplomatic decorum and interact with representatives of rival nations.
The council is populated by five permanent members – the U.S., China, Russia, Britain and France – and 10 other member states, who occupy a council seat for two-year terms. Iran is not among them.
Business will continue Wednesday at the General Assembly, where for a second day, 193 UN members take turns to speak out on pressing world issues and their national priorities in world affairs.
Among those tentatively scheduled to speak are the leaders of Panama, Iraq, Colombia, Afghanistan and Cuba.
This year, 133 world leaders have signed up to attend this year’s assembly session, which ends Oct. 1, a significant increase from the 114 leaders last year.
However, America’s go-it-alone attitude and growing divisions among key world powers risk eroding the U.N.’s ability to bring positive change in global affairs and end conflicts in Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere.
© 2018 The Canadian Press