Obama: Nations must 'honestly address' tensions
In an speech on Tuesday at the United Nations, President Barack Obama touched on issues such as the Syrian civil war and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without offering any new solutions. He also urged free speech and an end to 'mindless violence.'
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"However, I do believe that it is the obligation of all leaders in all countries to speak out forcefully against violence and extremism," he said. "There is no speech that justifies mindless violence."Skip to next paragraph
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'Call me awful things'
"As president of our country and commander-in-chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so," Obama said, drawing applause and some laughter.
The U.S. view, however, was not embraced by all sides at the General Assembly.
Karzai called the insults to the faith of 1.5 billion Muslims, the "depravity of fanatics," and added: "Such acts can never be justified as freedom of speech or expression."
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said violence could not be condoned, but he added that "the international community must not become (a) silent observer and should criminalize such acts that destroy the peace of the world and endanger the world security by misusing freedom of expression."
Egypt's new president, Mohamed Mursi, said freedom of expression carried with it responsibilities, and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, president of the world's most-populous Muslim-majority nation, Indonesia, called for a binding international treaty to "prevent incitement to hostility or violence based on religions or beliefs."
Earlier on Tuesday in Geneva, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation - the world's largest Islamic body, representing 56 countries - called for expressions of "Islamophobia" to be curbed by law in the same way as some countries restrict anti-Semitic speech or Holocaust denial.
On Monday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke of Israel being "eliminated" and said he did not take seriously its threats to strike Iran's nuclear facilities. He said his nation is committed to seeking a negotiated solution.
Iran says its nuclear program is solely for peaceful uses such as generating electricity or producing medical isotopes.
"Let me be clear: America wants to resolve this issue through diplomacy and we believe that there is still time and space to do so. But that time is not unlimited," Obama said.
"The United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," he added, without providing specifics.