Syria, Iran nuclear fears, Muslim protests cloud UN summit
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - War in Syria, mounting tensions over Iran's nuclear drive and anti-Western protests across the Muslim world will cast a shadow over the annual United Nations (UN) gathering of world leaders starting on Tuesday.
Words of warning and defiance are expected when US President Barack Obama, Iran's leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu join more than 120 heads of state and government at the UN General Assembly. Because of international divisions over the 18-month-old Syria conflict, the UN is holding no formal meeting on the civil war.
But Mr Obama and Western leaders are expected to call for action in their speeches. The US president is one of the first speakers on Tuesday after the event is opened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon.
Mr Ban and UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi agreed in talks Saturday that the conflict is a "steadily increasing threat to regional peace and security," a UN spokesman said.