UNITED NATIONS — The Latest on the U.N. General Assembly (all times local):
The foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates says Iran’s “hostile and expansionist policy” is the major obstacle to solving all crises in the Arab world.
Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan accused Iran of interfering in the internal affairs of other countries and supporting “terrorist groups,” including Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen and Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia fighting alongside Syrian government forces.
He told the U.N. General Assembly’s annual ministerial meeting on Friday that Iran is also supporting “terrorist groups and cells” in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait.
Al Nahyan said “Iran has not only committed blatant violations of the principles of sovereignty, but also continues to exploit the crises in the Arab world to undermine regional security by inciting and fueling conflict.”
He said Iran must realize that the best basis “for a harmonious relationship with the states in the Arab Gulf” is to respect the sovereignty of countries in the region.
The UAE along with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain cut all ties to Qatar in June, accusing it of supporting extremism and being soft on Iran.
The Emirati minister told the General Assembly: “We have a clear choice with no alternative: to stand against terrorism in all manifestations and to stand against all perpetrators without exception.”
The top diplomat from St. Vincent and the Grenadines says any disavowal of the Paris agreement on combatting climate change is “an act of hostility” that would contribute to weather-related death and destruction in island nations like his.
Vincentian Foreign Minister Louis Straker and St. Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet spoke Friday at the U.N. General Assembly. Both emphasized global warming and the hurricanes that recently swept through their Caribbean region.
Straker calls the storms’ effects “manifestations of climate change.” Scientists generally don’t attribute particular hurricanes to human-caused global warming but have long predicted extreme weather would rise with temperatures.
Straker says calling climate change a hoax is “a barefaced insult” to island nations.
Before taking office, U.S. President Donald Trump termed global warming “a hoax.”
He has announced a U.S. withdrawal from the Paris accord.
After decades of conflict and dysfunction, Somalia’s prime minister is telling world leaders that his nation “is rising” and “determined to stay the course.”
Hassan Ali Khayre spoke Friday to the U.N. General Assembly. He said: “The Somali people have embraced a new dawn.” But he adds that serious challenges remain.
The Horn of Africa nation has been wracked by war, famine and terrorism over the last quarter-century, but newly elected President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has been trying to rebuild stability. But the Islamist extremist group al-Shabab continues to threaten the fragile central government.
The nation also is struggling with drought. The U.N.’s World Food Programme says 800,000 Somalis are on the brink of famine, and over 3 million people urgently need aid.
Russia’s foreign minister says relations with the United States are suffering because the Obama administration was “small-hearted” and “revengeful” and says Moscow has not seen any “facts” that it interfered in the election that brought President Donald Trump to power.
Sergey Lavrov said former president Barack Obama “put this time bomb in U.S.-Russian relations,” which he didn’t expect from a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, “and we can still see the ramifications.”
He told a news conference Friday on the sidelines of the General Assembly’s annual ministerial meeting that Russia’s relationship with the U.S. is “contracting due to Russo-phobic hysteria.”
As for allegations of Russian meddling in last year’s election, he said “current American prosecutors are saying accusation is the king of proof” — but “in about a year of this chaos … we never heard not a single fact.”
Lavrov said when he asked U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson how Russia could confirm his words that Russia interfered in the American election process, Tillerson replied “I cannot show you anything because this is confidential information.'”
Lavrov said he can’t believe this because “first and foremost the United States has all the information leaking all the time.”
Russia’s top diplomat says “we have to calm down the hotheads” in the North Korean nuclear dispute and work to promote contacts between the Trump administration and Kim Jong Un’s government.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said it was “unacceptable to simply sit back and to look at the nuclear and military gambles of North Korea, but it is also unacceptable to start the war on the peninsula.”
Lavrov told a news conference Friday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly’s ministerial meeting that he would welcome mediation, saying “the mediators could be one of the neutral European countries.”
He added that U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres talked about mediation and said if he received such a request, “he would try to fulfill that.”
Lavrov was responding to a question about U.S. President Donald Trump’s combative speech Tuesday. The president threatened “to totally destroy North Korea” if the U.S. is forced to defend itself or its allies. In response, Kim called Trump “deranged” and saying he will “pay dearly” for his threats.
Lavrov said there are many people “who would like to try not to pursue” military action and sanctions, but rather try peaceful resolution.
He said he had no new initiatives to bring the two sides together, explaining that he believes “the potential” for the Russian-Chinese freeze-for-freeze proposal “is not yet exhausted.” That would halt North Korean nuclear and missile tests in exchange for the U.S. and South Korea stopping their joint military exercises. The Trump administration has rejected it.
Cuba’s top diplomat says his country so far hasn’t unearthed any information about who or what caused a mysterious series of health incidents that have affected U.S. and Canadian diplomats in Havana.
Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla told the U.N. General Assembly on Friday that early results from its investigation have to date “found no evidence whatsoever that could confirm the causes or the origin” of the problems.
At least 21 Americans and several Canadians in Havana’s diplomatic community have suffered from symptoms believed to have come from some sort of sonic attack. The symptoms include hearing loss and brain damage.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has described the incidents as “health attacks.”
Cuba has denied any involvement or knowledge of them. Rodriguez reiterated that denial Friday.
The U.N. humanitarian chief says the World Food Program delivered emergency food to a record 7 million people across conflict-wracked Yemen in August, “helping to avert potential famine.”
Mark Lowcock told a high-level event on Yemen on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly’s ministerial meeting Friday that this represents a 60 percent increase from the average of 4.4 million people who received food assistance in the first six months of the year.
He said the increase was partially a result of much higher imports in July. He urged all countries “to do everything they can to sustain this trend,” especially by ensuring ship clearances and smooth operations at the port of Hodeida.
Despite the delivery, Lowcock said Yemen “is facing the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with nearly 21 million people in need of emergency aid or protection,” most of them children.
He said the threat of famine still looms.
Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said Yemen also faces the world’s largest cholera outbreak since numbers have been recorded, with 700,000 suspected cases reported as of Friday.
Bhutan’s leader has punctuated his U.N. General Assembly speech with moments of silence to honor people afflicted by hurricanes, poverty and terrorism.
Prime Minister Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay paused for three periods of silence during his speech Friday. He also discussed the international challenges of curbing global warming, reducing poverty and fighting terrorism.
He noted that his tiny, heavily forested Himalayan nation is a rare country that absorbs more of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide than it emits.
Tobgay also said Bhutan has reduced acute poverty by half and aims to cut it significantly more in the next five years.
Bhutan is known for measuring “gross national happiness,” instead of traditional indicators of prosperity such as gross domestic product.
The item on Cuba has been updated to correct the first name of Cuba’s foreign minister to Bruno.