Barack Obama told the UN today that the global community has too long been "defined by our differences and outpaced by our problems." He said he was aware of the high expectations for his presidency, and he acknowledged US failings, but said solving the world's problems is not "solely America's endeavor," the AP reports. The president struck a blunt tone in his first speech before the UN General Assembly. "Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world's problems alone," he said.
Obama said the UN, often "a forum for discord," hasn't done enough to confront the issues that should be central: nuclear non-proliferation, the pursuit of peace, climate change, and economic growth. He also took on the Israel/Palestine conflict, calling on Palestinians to stop provoking Israel, but reiterating that " America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements," and insists that " Israel respect the legitimate claims and rights of the Palestinians." Finally he urged nations to respect democracy and human rights."The people of the world want change," he said, "They will not tolerate those who are on the wrong side of history."