U.N. General Assembly: A viewer's guide
September 19th, 2011
07:34 AM ET

U.N. General Assembly: A viewer's guide

By CNN's Joe Vaccarello

World leaders converge on the United Nations in New York this week for the 66th annual session of the General Assembly. Of 193 member nations, South Sudan being newly inducted this past July, 121 heads of state and government are expected to attend the six-day event.

Here is a helpful Security Clearance viewer's guide to key events this week.


The U.N. kicks off events with a two-day first-ever high-level meeting on noncommunicable diseases that cumulatively kill three in five people worldwide. It will focus on combating cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung diseases and diabetes. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is looking to "broker an international commitment that puts noncommunicable diseases high on the development agenda."


President Barack Obama will participate with other leaders in a Friends of Libya summit designed
to enlist support from the international community to help the country rebuild after the war.

By the way, don't expect Col. Moammar Gadhafi to make an appearance this year at the U.N. like he
did two years ago, when he delivered a 100-minute speech and ripped and tossed the U.N. charter. Libya's National Transition Council, newly recognized by the U.N. as the legitimate authority in that country, will be present in New York and will be represented by its chairman, Mustafa Jalil.


General debate speeches begin with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. This will be the first time a female leader will be the first speaker of the debate. She will be followed by Obama, who will make his third appearance at the annual U.N. event. Other speakers for the day will include President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia and President Hamid Karzai of


A controversial figure at the event for the past few years, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will take the podium on Thursday. He is expected to address regional Mideast upheaval as well as his usual strong pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli messages.


Friday brings us to the Palestinian quest for membership at the U.N. In the morning, Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to speak
. He has said that after he gives that speech, he will deliver a letter for application to the U.N. secretary general.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to speak a little later in the day. Also, a large pro-Palestinian protest is planned for outside the U.N. that same day.

There will be various ministerial meetings and conferences happening outside the General Assembly hall, focused on topics such as Somalia, counter-terrorism, nuclear safety and Afghanistan.

Finally, next Monday, as the Security Council remains deadlocked on how to respond to the Syrian crackdown on protesters, a representative of the Assad regime (not the Syrian president) will get a chance to address the country's critics.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Assad • Diplomacy • Foreign Policy • Gadhafi • Iran • Israel • Karzai • Libya • Middle East • NTC • Obama • Pakistan • Russia • Somalia • Syria • UN General Assembly • UN Security Council • United Nations
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  4. q1234567890

    so will they actually do the vote Friday or not?

    September 19, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Reply
  5. mike

    free palestine from the non-palestinian muslims which always push it to self-destruction by using it as a weapon against israel

    September 19, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Reply
    • Madhuri

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      July 1, 2012 at 1:00 am | Reply
  6. Wagaki Mwangi

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    September 19, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Reply
    • Ekta

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      June 28, 2012 at 11:32 am | Reply
  7. Moshe aron kestenbaum Williamsburg ODA

    Syria kill 3000 of its own people for wanting democracy and at the UN syria gets the to be chair of the Human rights committee, am I dreaming now? Is someone still sane out there?

    September 19, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Reply
  8. Moshe aron kestenbaum Williamsburg ODA

    Murders are gathering now at the united nations,syria,yemen,iran,Egypt north korea why do we waste our time with such people? We live in a f-cked up world

    September 19, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Reply
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      July 1, 2012 at 3:40 am | Reply
  11. sonofgod

    To hell with Palestine! GOD LOVES ISRAEL!

    September 19, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Reply
  12. hawaiiduude

    free PALESTINE!

    September 19, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Reply
  13. michaelfury


    September 19, 2011 at 11:02 am | Reply

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