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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — World leaders gathered Monday for the fifth day of the annual ministerial meeting of the U.N. General Assembly to address the state of their countries and the world. Here are highlights from some of the newsworthy speakers:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu compared his country's recent bombing campaign in Gaza to the U.S.-led strikes against militants in Iraq and Syria, saying Hamas and the Islamic State group share the same goal of world domination. Netanyahu railed against countries who condemned Israel for its war with Hamas while praising President Barack Obama for attacking Islamic State militants and other extremists. The Israeli prime minister said those world leaders "evidently don't understand that ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree." Netanyahu also said Iran's concern about the spread of terrorism is "one of history's greatest displays of doubletalk."
Myanmar's foreign minister said his country is working to end violence between Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine state and urged the world against "jumping to conclusions" about a situation that has drawn global condemnation. Wunna Maung Lwin also insisted Myanmar has addressed "all major concerns related to human rights" since it emerged from a half-century of dictatorship with a 2010 election. He said Myanmar should be removed from the U.N. Human Rights Council's agenda. Buddhist mob attacks against Rohingya and other Muslims have sparked fears that religious intolerance is undermining Myanmar's democratic reforms. The foreign minister said his government is working on an "action plan" to bring peace to Rakhine, where the violence has been especially severe.
Syria's foreign minister said the United States' dual policy of striking at militants in Syria while providing money, weapons and training to others is a recipe for more violence and terrorism. Walid al-Moallem said such behavior creates a "fertile ground" for the continued growth of extremism. He said military airstrikes won't be enough to destroy the Islamic State group and other al-Qaida affiliated organizations in Syria, adding that there should be pressure on regional countries to halt their support for them. He spoke as U.S.-led coalition airstrikes targeted towns and villages in northern and eastern Syria controlled by the Islamic State group. Syrian activists say one strike hit a grain silo and reportedly killed civilians.
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