WASHINGTON -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the world needs a "global architecture of cooperation" in a speech previewing U.S. goals for the 64th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which begins next week.
Speaking at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., the U.S. secretary of state outlined five priority issues the United States wants to pursue during the upcoming UN session: nuclear nonproliferation, the rebuilding and security of Iraq, terrorism, the Israeli-Palestine conflict, and violence against women.
Those goals represent a marked change of course from the years of the Bush administration, which viewed the UN with suspicion or disregard and practiced bilateral diplomacy.
"As President Obama leads our U.S. delegation at this year's General Assembly, I hope we can demonstrate that the United Nations does not have to be just a diplomatic 'talk shop' on First Avenue [in Manhattan] at its best," Clinton said. "It could be an institution that brings the world's nations together to solve global problems through adherence to rules and principles set forth in the UN Charter."
The UN General Assembly is made up of 192 member states and, as the institution's main legislative organ, it sets the agenda for the world body. The most powerful instrument within the UN is the Security Council, which handles the most significant security and peacekeeping issues. 'Main Topic Of Discussion'
Clinton said nuclear nonproliferation tops the U.S. agenda for the upcoming session.
"Few issues reflect the need for a global architecture of cooperation more than nuclear nonproliferation. No issue poses a more serious threat to our security or the world's [security]," she said, "and it will be a main topic of discussion next week and beyond."
She said Obama's plan to continue reducing global stockpiles of nuclear arms and implement stringent arms control well is in line with the UN's goal of the complete elimination of nuclear arms.
"We believe that it sets the template for what we should aspire to: moving toward a world with zero nuclear weapons," Clinton said. "We understand that won't be easy. We understand that it is a generational commitment [and] might not happen in our lifetimes. But as long as nuclear weapons exist in the world, the United States will maintain a safe, secure, and effective deterrent capability."
Iran's policy of uranium enrichment and its noncooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) remains the main threat
to international security, Clinton said, adding that Tehran's failure to live up to its obligations carries profound consequences for the security of the United States and the world, not to mention for the credibility of the IAEA and the UN Security Council.
"Our concern is not Iran's right to develop peaceful nuclear energy but its responsibility to demonstrate that its program is intended exclusively for peaceful purposes," she said. "This is not hard to do. Iran's continued refusal to cooperate has damaged the credibility of its claim that it does not seek a nuclear weapon."
Clinton said the fight against terrorism -- and specifically, formulating and implementing coordinated policies against Al-Qaeda and its allies -- will also be high on the U.S. agenda for the upcoming session.
"Also on the docket for the General Assembly will be meetings related to Afghanistan and Pakistan. President Obama has stated our core goal: to disrupt, dismantle, and ultimately defeat Al-Qaeda and its extremist allies, and to prevent their return to either country," she said. "This is the goal we share with Afghanistan, with Pakistan, and with the international community."
She said she will be personally engaged in advancing international efforts and UN-related activities aimed at recognizing women as key drivers of economic progress and social stability, and addressing impediments to women's empowerment and advancement, particularly sexual- and gender-based violence.