President Obama urges world leaders to renew international system

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Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, UN Photo/Mark Garten

United States President Barack Obama has urged world leaders to make a choice between renewing the international system and being pulled back by what he described as an "undertow of instability".

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly as it began its general debate on Wednesday, President Obama said there has been progress since the creation of the UN after the Second World War.

He pointed out that the prospect of war between major powers has been reduced and that hundreds of millions of people have been freed from poverty.

However, he added, new dangers have emerged including the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, the crisis in Ukraine and the brutality of terrorists in Syria and Iraq.

"We come together as United Nations with a choice to make. We can renew the international system that has enabled so much progress or we can allow ourselves to be pulled back by an undertow of instability. We can reaffirm our collective responsibility to confront global problems, or be swamped by more and more outbreaks of instability. For America the choice is clear. We choose hope over fear. We see the future not as something out of our control but as something we can shape for the better through concerted and collective effort." (29")

President Obama said that at the root of many challenges today is whether the nations will be able to renew the purposes of the UN's founding and whether they will come together to reject what he called the "cancer of extremism".

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations

Duration:   1’38″


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