The Latest: Saudi Arabia urges pressure on Iran

September 27, 2019 GMT
1 of 13
Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, at the United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
1 of 13
Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, at the United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Latest on the U.N. General Assembly’s annual gathering of world leaders (all times local):

7:55 p.m.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has railed against what he called the “dangerous phenomenon” of migration in a speech that reflected the country’s nationalist policies.

He told the U. N. General Assembly on Thursday that his people were “proud that we could preserve Hungary as a Hungarian country.” He said Hungary alone would decide “with whom we would like to live together in our country and with whom not.”

He painted a grim picture of the consequences of allowing in migrants, saying they disrupt and overwhelm their host countries.


Szijjarto said: “We don’t want to be country of origin, we don’t want to be country of transit, and we don’t want to be country of destination either.”

Hungary built razor-wire fences on its southern borders in late 2015, and the country’s president has made migration the central issue of his government since then.


7:45 p.m.

Saudi Arabia is calling on the world to apply “utmost pressure with every tool available” to end Iran’s aggressive conduct, and says the best way to control Tehran is by cutting off its financial resources.

Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf at the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday again blamed Iran for the Sept. 14 missile and drone attack on Saudi oil facilities. That attack jolted global oil prices and temporarily knocked out nearly 6% of daily global crude production.

Iran has denied any involvement, but Saudi Arabia insists Iranian weapons were used and has invited U.N. investigators to assess where the strikes were launched from.

The U.S., France, Britain and Germany also blame Iran, which has been under U.S. sanctions since 2018


6:55 p.m.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz is reaching out to Arab Gulf states, saying they face a common threat from Iran.

Katz told the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday that Iran is the main problem threatening stability and security in the Middle East.

Katz said Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered a recent attack on Saudi Arabian oil installations. Iran has denied involvement.

Israel has long considered Iran an existential threat and is striving to persuade the Gulf states to work together to contain Tehran.

But Katz also used his address to call on all countries to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital as the U.S. did recently. That move has angered many Arab countries. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state.



4:15 p.m.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has visited the Sept. 11 memorial in New York, viewing the commemorative pools where the World Trade Center’s twin towers once stood.

Zelenskiy toured the plaza Thursday afternoon. He paused by the names of people of Ukrainian heritage who were among the nearly 3,000 dead. Small Ukrainian flags had been placed to mark those names.

A crowd of onlookers and media watched Zelenskiy’s visit, which came during a closely watched trip to New York for the U.N. General Assembly.

The disclosure that U.S. President Donald Trump prodded Zelenskiy this summer to investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden has led to an impeachment investigation into Trump by the Democrat-led U.S. House.

The Republican president says he did nothing wrong.


3:10 p.m.

Two days after U.S. President Donald Trump told world leaders the future belongs to “patriots” and not “globalists,” a top European official is countering that “the patriotism of the 21st century must also have a global dimension.”

Speaking Thursday at the U.N. General Assembly, European Council President Donald Tusk said the idea of an imminent clash between globalism and patriotism is “false and dangerous.”

He says history shows how easily love of country can turn into hatred toward neighboring nations.

Tusk didn’t mention Trump, who was the most prominent of several leaders sounding populist and nationalist themes at the assembly this week. Trump said globalism made past leaders “ignore their own national interests.”

Tusk says he equates globalism with solidarity, a term he prefers.

Solidarity was the name of the pro-democracy movement that rose in his native Poland in the 1980s.


3:05 p.m.

Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi says he wants U.N. peacekeepers to continue fighting militias in his country, marking a stark departure from his predecessor.

Tshisekedi told the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday that Congo needs a strong, well equipped force that can bring stability to the vast, resource-rich country beset by various rebel groups.

Tshisekedi was speaking for the first time since taking office after former President Joseph Kabila relinquished power after 18 years. Kabila had long said the peacekeeping force was not welcome in his country and wanted it gone.

The Security Council has called for a review of the force, the U.N.’s biggest, with an eye toward possibly handing power to Congolese forces.

Instability in Congo is particularly worrying because the country is also battling an Ebola outbreak. Tshisekedi said progress was being made in combatting the virus, and new medicine and vaccines are being tested there.


2:15 p.m.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has reiterated his threat to withdraw from all agreements with Israel if it annexes parts of the occupied West Bank.

In a speech before the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday, he also slammed the United States for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and for other moves seen as hostile to the Palestinian cause.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed before last week’s elections to annex the Jordan Valley and other settlements. That vote left him deadlocked with his main rival.

The Trump administration has been at work on a long-awaited peace plan, which the Palestinians have already rejected over what they see as the administration’s unfair bias toward Israel.

The last round of direct peace negotiations broke down in 2009, shortly after Netanyahu assumed office.


1:45 p.m.

El Salvador’s new leader just snapped what might be a selfie worth a thousand words on the U.N. General Assembly stage.

President Nayib Bukele opened his speech to the assembly Thursday by taking a selfie — and casting it as a portrait of a global gathering that has become out of touch.

He reasoned many more people will see the selfie than hear his speech at a time when he says “the internet is increasingly becoming the real world,” and the assembly’s in-person meeting is “increasingly obsolete.”

Bukele says the assembly is “stuck in time.”

He said the U.N. itself isn’t obsolete, but it needs to embrace change and technology to stay relevant.

He suggests the assembly could meet via video and engage people around the world in its work.


1:15 p.m.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is urging the United States to “cease this policy of maximum pressure” in favor of “dialogue, and logic and reason.”

Rouhani’s comments Thursday came one day after he accused Washington of engaging in “international piracy” against Iran by re-imposing economic sanctions after the U.S. withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Since then, Iran’s economy has been buckling under the weight of the sanctions. On Wednesday, the U.S. imposed more — this time targeting Iran’s ability to sell its oil by imposing penalties on six Chinese companies and their chief executives for continuing to transport Iranian crude.


10:30 a.m.

The president of Sierra Leone is calling for “urgent and imperative” reform of the U.N. Security Council to give more representation and “an equal say” to Africa in international decision making.

Julius Maada Bio said in his speech Thursday at the United Nations General Assembly that “Africa’s patience has been tested” and there’s an urgent need for African representation.

Africa does not have a permanent seat on the council and for decades there have been calls to expand the U.N.’s most powerful body. It currently has 10 members elected for two-year terms and five permanent members — the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France.

Competing national and regional interests have so far prevented council reform.

The Sierra Leone president says reform must deal with “longstanding injustice and imbalance.”

9:30 a.m.

The president of Cyprus is using his address before the United Nations to once again accuse Turkey of undermining recent peace talks with, among other things, its “illegal military occupation” and drilling for gas in waters where Cyprus has exclusive economic rights.

The two nations have been at odds since 1974, when Turkey invaded following a coup by supporters of union with Greece, splitting the country along ethnic lines. Only Turkey recognizes a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence and keeps more than 35,000 troops in the breakaway north.

Since then, numerous rounds of peace talks have gone nowhere and President Nicos Anastasiades has blamed Turkey by imposing unacceptable terms.

“These developments make the role of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus and the fulfilment of its mandate more necessary than ever,” Anastadies said Thursday.


12:01 a.m.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the threat posed by Iran and Britain’s fraught exit from the European Union are likely topics as world leaders gather for a third day of speeches at the United Nations on Thursday .

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and diplomats from Israel and Saudi Arabia, which blames Tehran for an attack on its key oil sites, are expected to push their causes.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has scheduled a news conference for Thursday.