Foreign fighters, Ebola top Obama’s UN agenda
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will call on fellow world leaders next week to back a United Nations resolution calling on nations to stem the flow of foreign fighters joining terrorist organizations like the Islamic State, as the United States seeks to build legitimacy for its military campaign in Iraq and Syria, the White House said Friday.
At the annual U.N. General Assembly, Obama will also speak at a meeting about Ebola, chaired by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, where individual nations and the U.N. will announce new commitments to fight the outbreak in West Africa. Obama this week ordered 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the region to deal with the outbreak, and the U.S. is expecting other countries on Thursday to offer money, equipment and personnel, plus pledges to build treatment units for Ebola victims.
Topping the international community’s agenda as world leaders gather in New York is the threat posed by Islamic State group extremists who have seized about one-third of Syria and Iraq. Obama is working to form a global coalition to confront the group, but many leaders in both the West and the Arab world have been reluctant to involve themselves publicly in the U.S.-led military effort.
Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, said she expects unanimous approval in the U.N. Security Council for a resolution obligating member states to “prevent and deter” their citizens from traveling to war zones to join extremist groups. The resolution falls under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, meaning it can be enforced militarily.
Although the resolution doesn’t authorize the U.S. military campaign against the Islamic State group, it could bolster the president’s argument that there’s broad international support for the effort. The White House has said it has the authority under existing U.S. law to carry out airstrikes in Syria but hasn’t offered an explicit legal justification under international law.
“It will move the ball down the field in terms of the international legal architecture and obligations on states to try to combat this challenge,” Rice said of the resolution.
While in New York, Obama on Tuesday will attend a U.N. summit on climate change aimed at building support for a global climate treaty to be finalized next year in Paris. He’ll also discuss the need to strengthen civil society across the globe when he addresses the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative.
Obama also plans a series of bilateral meetings with foreign leaders on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.
Reach Josh Lederman at http://twitter.com/joshledermanAP