President Barack Obama will address the 70th session of the U.N. General Assembly Monday. Obama is expected to call on world leaders to work together to confront crises around the world by scaling back aggressive political tactics and embracing diplomacy.
The United Nations Web TV service will live stream the president’s remarks, which are slated to begin not long after 9 a.m. EDT. Brazil speaks before the U.S., and China and Iran will follow Obama.
“Obama will be in the tricky position of speaking before his two main geopolitical rivals. If he lauds their cooperation over Iran, right-wing American critics will claim he’s gone soft on China and Russia. If he throws in any tough lines about Ukraine, as he did last year, or the South China Sea, Xi and Putin will be able to take the podium and accuse him of making trouble,” Richard Gowan, a U.N. expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations think tank, told the Guardian. “I can only imagine that the [U.S.] State Department will be trying to coordinate very closely with Moscow and Beijing, and the CIA will be working very hard to get early drafts of their texts.”
Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin are expected to meet at some point during the week to talk about Ukraine and the crisis in Syria, the Washington Post reported. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the meeting was at the request of Putin, and in any discussion of Ukraine, it would be made clear to the Russian leader his country’s actions in Ukraine are a “clear violation of the territorial integrity of that sovereign nation."
Obama spoke at the United Nations last year, discussing issues such as poverty, global disease and the economy, and made tough remarks on Russia's actions in Ukraine.