World News Brief, Thursday September 22

Obama opposes Palestinian statehood vote, telling UN there is "no shortcut" (+ analysis and visual history); Tens of thousands rally in West Bank to support statehood; Taliban say peace talks were all a ploy to kill Rabbani; North Korea joins talks to end nuclear programme; US extends drone attacks into Africa; and more

Top of the Agenda: Obama to Address UN General Assembly

US President Barack Obama spoke to the UN General Assembly today, where he opposed the Palestinian Authority's bid for statehood, urging further peace talks (NYT) and addressing the "seismic change" (CNN) seen in the world over the past year, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa.

Earlier, Obama had been expected to focus on the United States' response to the so-called Arab Spring (VOA), underlining US and European intervention in Libya as a model of international cooperation for the twenty-first century.

The United States has vowed to veto such a a General Assembly vote, saying a Palestinian state should be reached through negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, not through a unilateral vote at the UN. Obama, however, never mentioned a veto (Wash Post) in today's speech.

Obama will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Reuters) this evening in an effort to dissuade him from moving forward with the statehood bid on Friday.


This year's daunting UN challenges for President Obama: navigating the Palestinian statehood thicket and convincing Americans that UN diplomacy matters, writes CFR's Stewart Patrick in this Expert Brief.

CFR's Steven Cook discusses the prospects and implications of the Palestinian bid for UN recognition of statehood in this video.

Foreign Policy offers a "visual history" of the decades-long effort to establish a Palestinian state.

If Israel and the United States cut funds to the Palestinian Authority, it could collapse--a disastrous development for all, writes Michael Herzog in the Financial Times.

This CFR Crisis Guide offers an in-depth, interactive look at the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its geopolitical repercussions.



North, South Korea Nuclear Envoys Meet in Beijing

Nuclear envoys from North and South Korea met in Beijing to discuss ending the North's nuclear weapons (BBC) program. In New York, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak told the UN General Assembly that North Korea's denuclearization is a necessary step toward the reunification (Yonhap) of the two states.

This CFR Crisis Guide offers an interactive look at the dispute between North and South Korea.

TAIWAN: The United States will reportedly sell Taiwan upgrades of old fighter jets (WSJ), rather than the new planes it requested. The move calls into question a US mandate to defend Taiwan against mainland China, while underscoring the growing importance of US-China economic ties.



Palestinians rally in support of statehood

Taliban won trust of Rabbani just to kill him

US extends drones into Africa


This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on