Tuesday 1 December, 2020

The Latest: German diplomat defends Iran nuclear accord

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel addresses the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, at U.N. headquarters.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel addresses the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, at U.N. headquarters.

The latest on the U.N. General Assembly meeting (all times local):

3:40 p.m.

Germany's top diplomat is defending international institutions and agreements, condemning "egoism" on the world stage.

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told the U.N. General Assembly that the existing nuclear accord with Iran should be honored in order to encourage other countries, especially North Korea, to adopt limits on nuclear programs.

Appearing to indirectly take on U.S. President Donald Trump's philosophy of "America first," Gabriel gave a full-throated defense of multilateral agreements as the best path to ensure global security.

He said: "We need more international cooperation and less national egoism, not the other way around."

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3:30 p.m.

China says negotiations offer the "only way out" of the standoff over North Korea's nuclear program.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi said there should be no new nuclear state on either side of the divided Korean Peninsula. He urged North Korea not to go further on a "dangerous direction."

Wang also called for the U.S. to honor its commitments and for all parties to ease tensions and meet each other "halfway."

He said: "There's still hope for peace."

Wang was speaking Thursday at the annual gathering of world leaders at the U.N., where North Korea's recent rapid pace of nuclear and missile tests has drawn international condemnation. Aid-for-disarmament talks have been in limbo for years.

President Donald Trump warned Tuesday that North Korea would be destroyed if it attacked the U.S. or its allies, and on Thursday, he announced new sanctions against Pyongyang.

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3:15 p.m.

Russia's top diplomat is calling the Iran nuclear deal one of the "more important factors of regional and international security" today.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov tackled a variety of international crises, including the tensions in North and South Korea in his address Thursday to the U.N. General Assembly.

Condemning North Korea's recent rocket launches and nuclear tests, Lavrov says there's no alternative to diplomacy in resolving the tension.

He said "military hysteria isn't an impasse. It's a disaster."

Lavrov is blaming what he calls the "hideous expansion of NATO to the east" for the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Addressing the civil war in Syria, Lavrov says all instances of the use of chemical weapons in that conflict must be investigated. Russia is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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1:31 p.m.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has used his speech at the U.N. General Assembly to talk about the injustices that indigenous people face in his country.

Trudeau said Thursday their experience has been one of "humiliation, neglect, and abuse." It is rare for a Canadian leader to talk about the plight of the country's indigenous people in a global forum.

Trudeau says Canada is not a "wonderland," but a work in progress. He says there are indigenous people who don't have safe drinking water or who say goodnight to their children and then hope that the youths don't run away or take their own lives in the night.

He spoke of Canada's former residential schools — government-sponsored religious institutions established to strip aboriginals of their native language and culture. He says his government is taking steps to improve the plight of indigenous people and noted that more than two dozen long-term drinking water advisories in indigenous communities have been eliminated.

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12:59 p.m.

Haitian President Jovenel Moise has rebuked the U.N. over two scandals that will leave a dark cloud over the peacekeeping mission in the Caribbean country when it leaves next month.

Moise thanked the U.N. mission for helping to stabilize Haiti but said Thursday he lamented the "the odious acts of sexual violence and exploitation committed" by some peacekeepers against Haitian children.

He also told the General Assembly that the U.N. should follow through on its promise to help victims of a cholera outbreak that U.N. troops from Nepal are widely blamed for introducing.

The cholera outbreak has afflicted over 800,000 people and killed more than 9,000 since 2010.

An AP investigation detailed how at least 134 Sri Lankan peacekeepers sexually abused and exploited nine Haitian children between 2004 and 2007. Sri Lanka never jailed any soldiers implicated in the abuse. This week, Sri Lanka joined a new U.N. "circle of leadership" aimed at preventing more abuses.

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10:30 a.m.

Adopting a less confrontational stance than key allies, South Korea's president has urged North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons and seek dialogue to prevent conflict breaking out on the divided peninsula.

President Moon Jae-in voiced support Thursday for stronger sanctions in response to the North's recent weapons tests, but his tone was in stark contrast to President Donald Trump's dark warning at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday that North Korea would be "totally destroyed" if it attacked.

Another U.S. ally, Japan, said Wednesday that pressure, not dialogue, was needed.

Moon cautioned that North Korean nuclear issues need to be "managed stably" to prevent a spike in tensions and military clashes — a prospect that has overshadowed this year's gathering of world leaders.

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