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Obama UN speech to focus on Syria, Iran and Middle East peace

WASHINGTON–President Barack Obama addresses the United National general assembly on Tuesday and a White House official said the speech will deal with hotspots Syria, Iran and the Middle East.

Obama is looking for the UN Security Council to approve a measure to pressure Syria over chemical weapons. The big unknown of the day is whether Obama meets–even in passing in a hallway–or at a lunch with other leaders–with new Iranian President Hasan Rouhani.

Obama meets Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas later today at the UN; Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu comes to the White House on Sept. 30.

The official said, “The President’s speech will focus on U.S. policy towards the Middle East and North Africa. It will address three major diplomatic priorities: Syria, and our ongoing efforts to eliminate chemical weapons and achieve a political resolution to the civil war; Iran, and our pursuit of a path forward on the nuclear issue, particularly given the new leadership; and our pursuit of Middle East peace, given ongoing direct negotiations.

“While focusing on these diplomatic priorities where progress is being made, the President will also step back and discuss the events that have unfolded since the Arab Spring, and how the United States plans to engage the region going forward.”