Obama addresses UN General Assembly, pledges Syria aid

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U.S. President Barack Obama departs as United Nations General Assembly President Dr. John Ashe (R) of Antigua and Barbuda looks on after Obama addressed the 68th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, September 24, 2013. REUT
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States will provide an additional $340 million in humanitarian aid to support those affected by the ongoing crisis in Syria.
Addressing world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Obama also lashed out at doubters who questioned whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad carried out the August 21 chemical attack near Damascus, which U.S. intelligence says killed some 1,400 people.
"It is an insult to human reason – and to the legitimacy of this institution – to suggest that anyone other than the regime carried out this attack," he said.
The U.S. president defended his threat of force against Assad\’s government, calling for "a strong Security Council resolution to verify that the Assad regime is keeping its commitments."
President Obama has said he is pushing for diplomacy with the new Iranian government over its suspect nuclear program which may bring about "broader peace" in the region.
Speaking at the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, Obama said that Iran had been a major source of instability for too long and seeks to resolve the nuclear issue peacefully.
Obama says he will take direct action when it is necessary to defend the United States against terrorist attacks, and use "all elements of U.S. power, including military force, to secure U.S. interests in the Middle East."
Iran insists it is a peaceful programme, but Western countries suspect it of seeking to develop a nuclear weapon.
The country\’s new President, Hassan Rouhani, has said he wants to present his country\’s "true face".
A meeting between  Obama and  Rouhani – the first such encounter since the 1979 revolution – has not been ruled out.
Speaking to world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly in New York, President Obama urged "consequences" for the use of chemical weapons in Syria and elsewhere, warning the world\’s credibility is at stake.
Obama also demanded that the world should take action on Syria, reiterating his threat of force against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad\’s regime.
"It is an insult to human reason – and to the legitimacy of this institution – to suggest that anyone other than the regime carried out this attack," he said.
He said the purpose of such a resolution should be "to verify that the [Bashar al-Assad\’s] regime is keeping its commitments" to remove or destroy its chemical weapons.
The deal for Syria to hand over its chemical weapons by mid-2014 was agreed earlier this month between the US and Russia, averting a possible Western military strike.
Earlier, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the annual meeting by appealing to world leaders to stop sending weapons to Syria.
Ban appealed to "all states to stop fueling the bloodshed and to end the arms flows to all parties."
He called for the Security Council to adopt an "enforceable" resolution on a U.S.-Russian agreement to put Syria\’s chemical weapons under international control for future destruction.
Source: Agencies

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