UN General Assembly: Trump says Abraham Accords brought optimism to Middle East

Donald Trump, is on video screens as his pre-recorded message is played during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly. (UN Photo/via AP)
Short Url
Updated 24 September 2020

UN General Assembly: Trump says Abraham Accords brought optimism to Middle East

  • US President flaunts regional foreign policy achievements to world leaders
  • Blames China for coronavirus pandemic as general debate gets underway

UNITED NATIONS: Donald Trump told world leaders Tuesday he “has never been more optimistic” about the future of the Middle East.

In his address to the UN General Assembly, the US president trumpeted his foreign policy achievements, particularly in the the regions.

He said the Abraham Accords signed between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain last week were groundbreaking and came thanks to a new approach by his administration.



“We reached a landmark breakthrough with two peace deals in the Middle East, after decades of no progress,” Trump said in his address delivered by video. 

“Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain all signed a historic peace agreement in the White House, with many other Middle Eastern countries to come. They are coming fast, and they know it’s great for them and it’s great for the world.”

Trump, who faces an election on Nov. 3, said during his presidency the US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and imposed crippling sanctions on “the world’s leading state sponsor of terror.”

He said the US had “obliterated” Daesh and killed its leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. He said under his watch the American forces had also taken out Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, who he described as “the world’s top terrorist.”

Trump also took aim at China, blaming the superpower for unleashing the coronavirus pandemic on the world.

Speaking a shortly after Trump, China’s President Xi Jinping warned the world not to “politicize” the fight against coronavirus.

His speech came during the UN’s first virtual meeting of world leaders.

Among the speaking on Tuesday were Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Vladimir Putin, and French president Emmanuel Macron.

Erdogan used his speech to signal Turkey's position on the eastern Mediterranean, where his country had been accused of provacoatively caarying out energy exploration in disputed waters.

From the Middle East, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani will take the virtual floor as his country comes under huge pressure from the US over the crumbling nuclear deal.

Jordan's King Abdullah II and the Emir of Qatar will also deliver their addresses.

After Monday's introductory session marking the UN's 75th anniversary, the “general debate” is the meeting's central event — speeches from each of its 193 member nations.

They traditionally serve as a platform for countries to tout accomplishments, seek support, stoke rivalries and express views on global priorities.

*With AP

Navy chief who supervised bin Laden mission says he voted for Biden

Updated 21 October 2020

Navy chief who supervised bin Laden mission says he voted for Biden

  • He declared his support for many of the key issues Biden is running on
  • More than 500 retired US military leaders have endorsed Biden in recent months

NEW YORK: The former US Navy Seal who oversaw the 2011 operation that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden has revealed that he voted for Democratic challenger Joe Biden in the presidential election.
In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, retired Adm. William McRaven was scathing about the record of the Trump administration and its “transactional approach to global issues.”
Without referring to the president by name, he said America’s global influence is diminishing as other countries see the most powerful nation in the world “tear up our treaties, leave our allies on the battlefield and cozy up to despots and dictators. (They) have seen an ineptness and a disdain for civility that is beyond anything in their memory.”
He also rejected Trump’s assertion that the US is now held in high regard as a result of his leadership. McRaven, who was commander of US Special Operations Command from 2011 to 2014, said that the world no longer trusts America to “stand up to tyranny, lift up the downtrodden, free the oppressed, and fight for the righteous.”
He stressed his traditional conservative values, including opposition to abortion and a tough stance on defense matters. But he also declared his support for many of the key issues Biden is running on, including support for racial equality and the Black Lives Matter movement, a fair path to citizenship for immigrants, a return to America’s founding ideals of diversity and inclusion, and the need to take action on climate change.
More than 500 retired US military leaders have endorsed Biden in recent months, including four former chairmen of the Joints Chiefs of Staff. However, McRaven has been particularly forceful in his criticism since the president took office, describing Trump as unfit for the office of commander-in-chief. In numerous interviews and op-eds he has accused him of eroding American values and undermining US democratic institutions.
He described Trump’s attacks on the media as “the greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime.” And in an op-ed for the Washington Post in February, he said he fears for the future of his country if Trump remains in power.
“As Americans, we should be frightened,” he wrote. “(When) good men and women can’t speak the truth, (when) integrity and character no longer matter, when presidential ego and self-preservation are more important than national security — then there is nothing left to stop the triumph of evil.”
In another scathing op-ed, published by the New York Times in October 2019, McRaven said the American republic is “under attack” from the man in the Oval Office.
Trump previously dismissed the criticism, claiming in 2018 that McRaven had been a supporter of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election, and questioning why bin Laden was not killed sooner.
In response, McRaven said: “I did not back Hillary Clinton or anyone else.”
On one occasion when asked to comment on the criticism from the retired admiral, Trump said he did not know who he was.
In his latest op-ed — titled “Biden will make America lead again” — McRaven restated the need for an American leadership driven by “conviction and a sense of honor and humility.”
He concludes with a warning that echoes one given by former President George H.W. Bush in the 1998 book “A World Transformed:” “If we remain indifferent to our role in the world, if we retreat from our obligation to our citizens and our allies and if we fail to choose the right leader, then we will pay the highest price for our neglect and shortsightedness.”