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2013 United Nations General Assembly Speeches

Action Alerts
2013 United Nations General Assembly Speeches

Since the opening of the 68th United Nations General Assembly last week, leaders from around the globe have delivered addresses to the international community. The leaders of the United States, Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Iran all spoke about the future of the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the Iranian nuclear program. Below are excerpts from these speeches, and links to the full transcripts and videos.


Barak Obama
United States of America


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Benjamin Netanyahu
Israel


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Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinian Authority


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Hassan Rouhani
Islamic Republic of Iran


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United States: President Barak Obama
"Since I took office, I’ve made it clear in letters to the Supreme Leader in Iran and more recently to President Rouhani that America prefers to resolve our concerns over Iran’s nuclear program peacefully, although we are determined to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. We are not seeking regime change and we respect the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy. Instead, we insist that the Iranian government meet its responsibilities under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and U.N. Security Council resolutions. . . . But to succeed, conciliatory words will have to be matched by actions that are transparent and verifiable. After all, it's the Iranian government’s choices that have led to the comprehensive sanctions that are currently in place.”

"I’ve made it clear that the United States will never compromise our commitment to Israel’s security, nor our support for its existence as a Jewish state. . . . So the time is now ripe for the entire international community to get behind the pursuit of peace. Already, Israeli and Palestinian leaders have demonstrated a willingness to take significant political risks. . . . So now the rest of us must be willing to take risks as well. Friends of Israel, including the United States, must recognize that Israel’s security as a Jewish and democratic state depends upon the realization of a Palestinian state, and we should say so clearly. Arab states, and those who supported the Palestinians, must recognize that stability will only be served through a two-state solution and a secure Israel."

Read the full transcript

Israel: President Benjamin Netanyahu
The only diplomatic solution that would work is one that fully dismantles Iran's nuclear weapons program and prevents it from having one in the future. President Obama rightly said that Iran's conciliatory words must be matched by transparent, verifiable and meaningful action . . . Israel will never acquiesce to nuclear arms in the hands of a rogue regime that repeatedly promises to wipe us off the map. Against such a threat, Israel will have no choice but to defend itself. I want there to be no confusion on this point: Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons. If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone. Yet in standing alone, Israel will know that we will be defending many, many others.”

“And Israel continues to seek an historic peace with our Palestinian neighbors, one that ends our conflict once and for all. We want a peace based on security and mutual recognition in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish state of Israel. I remain committed to achieving an historic conciliation and building a better future for Israelis and Palestinians alike.” 

Read the full transcript

Palestinian Authority: Mahmoud Abbas
"The objective of the negotiations is to secure a lasting peace accord that leads immediately to the establishment of the independence of a fully sovereign State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on all of the Palestinian lands occupied in 1967, so that it may live in peace and security alongside the State of Israel, and the resolution of the plight of Palestine refugees in a just agreed upon solution, according to United Nations resolution 194, as called for by the Arab Peace Initiative. . . . Our objective is to achieve a permanent and comprehensive agreement and a peace treaty between the States of Palestine and Israel that resolves all outstanding issues and answers all questions, which allows us to officially declare an end of conflict and claims."


"I am confident that the Israeli people want peace, and that its majority supports a two-State solution. We have always expressed our firm positions and have always explained them at the negotiations table with the Israeli Government and in the meetings and contacts we have intensified in the recent years with a wide spectrum of actors in Israeli society. Our message stems from the idea that the two peoples, the Palestinian and the Israeli, are partners in the task of peacemaking. This is why we keep reaching out to the Israeli side saying: let us work to make the culture of peace reign, to tear down walls, to build bridges instead of walls, to open wide roads for connection and communication."

Read the full transcript

Iran: President Hassan Rouhani
"The recent elections in Iran represent a clear, living example of the wise choice of hope, rationality and moderation by the great people of Iran. . . . Let me say this in all sincerity before this august world assembly, . . . Iran poses absolutely no threat to the world or the region. In fact, in ideals as well as in actual practice, my country has been a harbinger of just peace and comprehensive security. . . . Iran and other actors should pursue two common objectives as two mutually inseparable parts of a political solution for the nuclear dossier of Iran:

  1. Iran's nuclear program . . . must pursue exclusively peaceful purposes.
  2. . . . . acceptance of and respect for the implementation of the right to enrichment inside Iran and enjoyment of other related nuclear rights, provides the only path towards achieving the first objective."


"Iran seeks constructive engagement with other countries based on mutual respect and common interest, and within the same framework does not seek to increase tensions with the United States. I listened carefully to the statement made by President Obama today at the General Assembly. Commensurate with the political will of the leadership in the United States and hoping that they will refrain from following the short-sighted interest of warmongering pressure groups, we can arrive at a framework to manage our differences. To this end, equal footing, mutual respect, and the recognized principles of international law should govern the interactions. Of course, we expect to hear a consistent voice from Washington."

Read the full transcript




Date: 10/2/2013
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