The Latest: Kenya's president outlines his UN priorities

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In this photo taken from video shown at United Nations headquarters, Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta remotely addresses the 76th session of the U.N. General Assembly in a pre-recorded message, Wednesday Sept. 22, 2021. (UN Web TV via AP)

The Latest on the UN General Assembly:


UNITED NATIONS — With Kenya poised to assume the presidency of the United Nations Security Council next month, the country’s president outlined his priorities.

Uhuru Kenyatta said Wednesday in a pre-recorded speech at the U.N. General Assembly that he believes multilateral systems need to be fair, inclusive and effective.

He plans to chair several signature events while Kenya has the presidency. Those subjects include making diversity a core aim in statebuilding, examining the impact of small illicit arms and light weapons on global peacekeeping ops and better supporting female peacekeepers and peacebuilders.

Kenyatta also declared Kenya ready to be a leading green industry economy. He said a fast-growing Africa could “offer the entire world the benefit of its demographic dividend of youth” and investment opportunities. He also touted Kenya’s involvement in ocean conferences and spoke of the associated blue economy.

On security issues, he said that states were ill equipped to deal with fragility that leads to crises and terrorism. He said it was important to increase the competence of states to manage social and political diversity.


UNITED NATIONS — Jordan’s monarch recalled the 11-day Gaza War of this past summer in his speech before the United Nations, saying Tuesday the latest round of conflict was a reminder that the status quo is unsustainable.

The war in May was the fourth in Gaza since the Hamas Islamic militant group seized power in 2007, triggering a crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade on the Palestinian territory.

More than 250 people were killed in Gaza, most of them civilians, including dozens of children and women, according to the U.N. There were 13 deaths in Israel. More than 4,000 homes in Gaza were destroyed or severely damaged.

“But how many more homes will be lost? How many more children will die before the world wakes up?” said King Abdullah, who delivered his pre-recorded remarks remotely to the U.N. General Assembly, though some 100 heads of state and government are attending in person amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “Genuine security for either side — indeed, for the whole world — can only be achieved through the two-state solution.”

He reiterated that such a solution must result in an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side-by-side with Israel in peace.

King Abdullah called for the continued support of UNRWA, the U.N. agency that assists millions of Palestinian refugees, among them the majority of Gaza’s 2 million residents.

The Jordanian king is a close U.S. ally and his nation has custodianship over the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, a site holy to both Muslims and Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount. The area was the scene of violent confrontations between Israeli security forces and Palestinian worshippers during the last days of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in May.

Since 2008, more than 4,000 Palestinians have been killed in the conflicts, according to the U.N. While many were fighters for Hamas or other militant groups, more than half were civilians. On the Israeli side, the death toll from the four wars stands at 106, officials say.


UNITED NATIONS — The chair of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s presidency called upon the United Nations to uphold its commitment to human rights, citing ethnic inequality within his own country.

Željko Komšić is the Croat member of the western Balkan country’s presidency, which is shared between the country’s Croats, Bozniak Muslims and Serbs.

Komšić on Wednesday hailed bilateral and regional cooperation during the pandemic, saying neighbors provided aid before multilateral institutions did. But later in his speech, he spoke of neighbors’ intentions to annex parts of his country by fomenting ethnic tensions within.

Bosnia was the site of a bloody civil war in the 1990s that ended with the Dayton Peace Agreement. Komšić says the international agreement created complex institutions that make it difficult for the country to come to a political consensus that would allow it to move toward “a functioning state.”

He lambasted conditions that have created political, electoral and social inequality within his own country on ethnic and religious lines. In an address to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, Croatia’s president also called for electoral reform in Bosnia, saying its Croats were marginalized.

Komšić bemoaned population outflows, saying a substantial segment of the population, including those of working age and with young families, have left Bosnia for better business and human rights opportunities. At the same time, Bosnia has received economic migrants from elsewhere. He says this combination has created additional social problems.


UNITED NATIONS — After two decades in Afghanistan, the United States should do more to help the country’s refugees, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in remarks aired Wednesday.

Turkey hosts the world’s largest refugee population – some 4 million, mostly Syrians – and has warned that it cannot accept any more arrivals from Afghanistan.

“Right now, the U.S. is failing to meet its obligations. We have more than 300,000 Afghan refugees and we will no longer be able to afford to welcome any more Afghan refugees in Turkey,” Erdogan said in a preview of a CBS interview due to be broadcast Sunday.

“Of course, the U.S. should do a lot and should invest a lot because the U.S. has been there for the last 20 years but why, why? First, these questions should be answered by the U.S.”

Afghan refugees have been fleeing their country since last month, when the Taliban swept back into power as U.S. forces prepared to withdraw from the country at the end of August.

A day earlier, Erdogan used his speech to the UN General Assembly in New York to warn of a potential wave of refugees sparked by climate change. Turkey is experiencing growing discontent at the levels of migration since the start of the Syrian conflict a decade ago.

The government is in the process of bolstering security on its eastern border with Iran, including a wall, amid fears that the Taliban’s rule could drive refugees, many trying to reach Europe, to Turkey’s frontier.