Obama to UN: Time for 'New Era of Engagement'

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President Barack Obama addressed the U.N. General Assembly Wednesday, admonishing the world's leaders that the time had arrived for a "new era of engagement" on world problems. 

"The time has come for the world to move in a new direction," Obama said in his first address to the U.N. General Assembly. "Our work must begin now."

Obama stressed four pillars on which this new era should be based. They included: 

  • nuclear disarmament
  • promotion of peace and security
  • preservation of the planet
  • a global economy that offers opportunity for all people.

CBN News Reporter Erick Stakelbeck appeared on the CBN News Channel's Midday show to provide an analysis of President Obama's Wednesday speech to the U.N. General Assembly. Click play to watch the interview.

He said while there were legitimate reasons for people's anger over some recent U.S. policies, he warned global leaders not to allow themselves to be defined "by our differences."  

"In this hall, we come from many places, but we share a common future," Obama said. "No longer do we have the luxury of indulging our differences to the exclusion of the work that we must do together."

The president added that he would not apologize for standing up for American interests, while simultaneously seeking to dispel what he described as "an almost reflexive anti-Americanism" that has spread across the globe. 

No 'Going It Alone' 

He indicated that the U.S. would be an equal partner with the world in this new era of change and listed several policy changes his administration had already set in motion during his first nine months in office.

"Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world's problems alone," Obama said.

Two-State Solution

Turning his attention to Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Obama reiterated his insistence that Israel freeze all settlements, while calling on Palestinians to quit provoking Israelis.

"We continue to call on Palestinians to end incitement against Israel, and we continue to emphasize that America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements."

As he stressed renewed efforts to restart peace negotiations, the president made it clear that his ultimate goal was "two states living side by side in peace and security."
 
Obama met a day earlier with the two nations' leaders, neither of whom gave any sign they were open to mending the gaps. 

Iran 

Obama took aim at Iran, insisting the Muslim nation "must be held accountable" should it continue its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Iran has butt heads with the U.S. and the U.N. over it's uranium enrichment program -- a program Tehran insists is not geared toward making a bomb.

"The world must stand together to demonstrate that international law is not an empty promise, and that Treaties will be enforced," Obama said. "We must insist that the future not belong to fear."

The U.S. and other nations have signaled they are open to discussing the matter, but that their patience is wearing thin.

"In an era where our destiny is shared, power is no longer a zero-sum game," Obama told the assembly. "No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed. That is the future America wants."

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