President Obama will address the United Nations General Assembly this morning, his final speech before the international governing body.
As he nears the end of his two terms in office, the president is expected to address some of his administration’s biggest foreign policy initiatives, including the completion of the Paris climate accord, restoring diplomatic ties with Cuba and fighting the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
He is also expected to talk about the ongoing, multisided war in Syria. His speech comes the day after a cease-fire brokered by the United States and Russia collapsed, in part because of distrust sowed by an accidental attack by a U.S-led coalition aircraft that killed Syrian soldiers over the weekend. Civilians are trapped in besieged areas. On Monday, an aid convoy in Syria was attacked from the air, and the president is expected to address the U.S. approach to handling refugees fleeing the fighting.
Despite the ongoing violence, Obama is expected to defend elements of his administration’s approach to the war in Syria, including discouraging the use of chemical weapons, and authorizing an air campaign against ISIS strongholds.
He will likely echo points made by the United States’ ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, who told NPR on Monday that the administration is pursuing the duel motives of “targeting terrorists and making sure that the starving and surrendering techniques end.”
Earlier in the day, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also addressed the war in Syria in a speech to the assembly, saying “There is no military solution.” Ban’s term as U.N. leader ends this year, and he said although the body as “achieved much,” he has deep concerns.
“Gulfs of mistrust divide citizens from their leaders. Extremists push people into camps of ‘us’ and ‘them’,” Ban said. “The Earth assails us with rising seas, record heat and extreme storms. And danger defines the days of many.”
Check back at 10 a.m. ET for live streaming and blog coverage of the address.
Update at 10:15 a.m. ET President Obama is late
The president is running late. To keep the agenda running, the president of Chad, Idriss Déby, was asked to speak before, instead of after, President Obama.
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