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Obama Addresses UN General Assembly on Syria

“President Barack Obama said recent overtures from Iran may offer a basis for a “meaningful agreement” to resolve the confrontation over the Persian Gulf nation’s nuclear program, one of the primary sources of instability in the Middle East.

The U.S. is “encouraged” that Iranian President Hassan Rohani was given a mandate in his election to pursue a more moderate course, Obama said.

“Conciliatory words will have to be matched by actions that are transparent and verifiable,” Obama told world leaders today at the United Nations in New York. “The roadblocks may prove to be too great, but I firmly believe the diplomatic path must be tested.”

In an address focused on turmoil in the Middle East, including the civil war in Syria and the Israel-Palestinian peace process, Obama vowed the U.S. will use all means necessary, including military force, to protect its “core interests” in the region and ensure the free flow of energy to the world.

He called on the UN to apply meaningful pressure on the regime in Syria to follow through on its promise to surrender its chemical weapons. He said Iran and Russia, Syria’s main allies, must recognize that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad cannot remain in power if the civil war is to be resolved by political means.

The president’s speech comes as Obama has an opening for progress on long-stalled foreign policy issues….”

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