UNITED NATIONS (CNN) — President Obama made a forceful call Wednesday for a new era in global relations, urging the United Nations to move past old divisions and disputes to reassert itself as a leading force in confronting the most pressing issues of today.
President Obama addresses the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday.
In his first speech as president to the U.N. General Assembly, Obama sought to distance his young administration from unilateral policies of his predecessor, while pledging a U.S. commitment to work with the United Nations in forging a better common future for all.
“The United States stands ready to begin a new chapter of international cooperation — one that recognizes the rights and responsibilities of all nations,” Obama said in concluding a speech that received strong applause.
He told the assembly that the world’s countries, both individually and collectively as the United Nations, have failed to put aside old ways of thinking and acting as they confront threats to global security and stability.
“Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges,” he said. “If we are honest with ourselves, we need to admit that we are not living up to that responsibility.”
Obama cited issues such as terrorism, long-running conflicts, nuclear proliferation, climate change, poverty and pandemic disease, then added: “The magnitude of our challenges has yet to be met by the measure of our action.”
The speech outlined four pillars for collective world focus — nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, the pursuit of peace, combating climate change, and increasing economic development and opportunity — and directly addressed long-standing issues such as the Middle East conflict as well as more recent challenges including the global economic recession.