Top 10 quotes of Obama and Putin at UN General Assembly

Author : Serhiy Zvyglianych

Source : 112 Ukraine

The 70th session of the UN General Assembly was opened in New York. The highlight of the first day was a verbal duel of the US and Russian presidents - Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin. collected the most important passages, voiced from the General Assembly`s tribune.
15:15, 29 September 2015

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The US president was speaking for almost 40 minutes, although the regulations allow heads of states and governments to speak no more than 15 minutes. Yet, not everyone could manage to keep the time limit, including Volodymyr Putin. Noteworthy, Barack Obama's speech was interrupted nine times by applause. What Obama said that struck a high audience in New York City, read next.

About democracy

History shows that regimes who fear their own people will eventually crumble, but strong institutions built on the consent of the governed endure long after any one individual isgone. Democracy — the constant struggle to extend rights to more of our people, to give more people a voice — is what allowed us to become the most powerful nation in the world…My belief in moving forward rather than backwards, requires us to defend the democratic principles that allow societies to succeed.Democracy is going to take different forms in different parts of the world. But some universal truths are self-evident. No person wants to be imprisoned for peaceful worship. No woman should ever be abused with impunity, or a girl barred from going to school. These are not ideas of one country or one culture, They are a cornerstone of this institution.

About dictators

Today, we see the collapse of strongmen and fragile states breeding conflict, and driving innocent men, women and children across borders on an epic scale… The history of the last two decades proves that in today’s world, dictatorships are unstable. The strongmen of today become the spark of revolution tomorrow…Brutal networks of terror have stepped into the vacuum. It’s technology, social media, and the irreducible desire of people everywhere to make their own choices about how they are governed.Indeed, I believe that in today’s world, the measure of strength is no longer defined by the control of territory. Lasting prosperity does not come solely from the ability to access and extract raw materials. The strength of nations depends on the success of their people — their knowledge, their innovation, their imagination, their creativity, their drive, their opportunity. Internal repression and foreign aggression are both symptoms of the failure to provide this foundation.

About Syria

When a dictator slaughters tens of thousands of his own people, that is not just a matter of one nation’s internal affairs — it breeds human suffering on an order of magnitude that affects us all. Likewise, when a terrorist group beheads captives, slaughters the innocent and enslaves women, that’s not a single nation’s national security problem — that is an assault on all humanity.

But while military power is necessary, it is not sufficient to resolve the situation in Syria. Lasting stability can only take hold when the people of Syria forge an agreement to live together peacefully.

The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict. But we must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the pre-war status quo. Let’s remember how this started. Assad reacted to peaceful protests by escalating repression and killing. And so Assad and his allies cannot simply pacify the broad majority of a population. Yes, realism dictates that compromise will be required to end the fighting and ultimately stamp out ISIL. But realism also requires a managed transition away from Assad and to a new leader.

We know that ISIL — which emerged out of the chaos of Iraq and Syria — depends on perpetual war to survive. So part of our job, together, is to work to reject such extremism that infects too many of our young people. Part of that effort must be a continued rejection by Muslims of those who distort Islam to preach intolerance and promote violence, and it must also a rejection by non-Muslims of the ignorance that equates Islam with terror. 

About sanctions

Sanctions have led to capital flight, a contracting economy, a fallen ruble, and the emigration of more educated Russians.

Imagine if, instead, Russia had engaged in true diplomacy. That would be better for Ukraine, but also better for Russia, and better for the world — which is why we continue to press for this crisis to be resolved in a way that allows a sovereign and democratic Ukraine to determine its future and control its territory. Not because we want to isolate Russia — we don’t — but because we want a strong Russia that’s invested in working with us to strengthen the international system as a whole.

About Ukraine

Consider Russia’s annexation of Crimea and further aggression in eastern Ukraine. America has few economic interests in Ukraine. We recognize the deep and complex history between Russia and Ukraine. But we cannot stand by when the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a nation is flagrantly violated… The Ukrainian people are more interested than ever in aligning with Europe instead of Russia.

About Iran

The Iranian people have a proud history, and are filled with extraordinary potential. But chanting “Death to America” does not create jobs, or make Iran more secure.

About Cuba

For 50 years, the United States pursued a Cuba policy that failed to improve the lives of the Cuban people. We changed that. We continue to have differences with the Cuban government. We will continue to stand up for human rights. But we address these issues through diplomatic relations, and increased commerce, and people-to-people ties. As these contacts yield progress, I’m confident that our Congress will inevitably lift an embargo that should not be in place anymore. Change won’t come overnight to Cuba, but I’m confident that openness, not coercion, will support the reforms and better the life the Cuban people deserve.

About the United States

No matter how powerful our military, how strong our economy, we understand the United States cannot solve the world’s problems alone.

About allies

I lead the strongest military that the world has ever known, and I will never hesitate to protect my country or our allies, unilaterally and by force where necessary.


Vladimir Putin skipped Obama's speech. In response, Petro Poroshenko skipped Putin's talk. Ukrainian delegation demonstratively left the hall while the Russian President was preparing to speak - in response to yesterday's demarche of the Russian representatives. In addition, the Ukrainian diplomats met Putin`s remarks with the flag from Ilovaisk, where in tragic battle during August –September 2014 died 366 Ukrainian soldiers, 249 were wounded, 128 - captured and 158 are still missing. Putin was talking less than Obama - 22 minutes of sight-reading. The key messages of his speech are the following.

About United Nations

It has now become commonplace to see that in its original form, it has become obsolete and completed its historical mission. Of course, the world is changing and the U.N. must be consistent with this natural transformation. Russia stands ready to work together with its partners on the basis of full consensus… What is the state sovereignty, after all? It is basically about freedom and the right to choose freely one's own future for every person, nation and state.One should not play with or manipulate words.Every term in international law and international affairs should be clear, transparent and have uniformly understood criteria. We are all different, and we should respect that. We should all remember what our past has taught us.We also remember certain episodes from the history of the Soviet Union. Social experiments for export, attempts to push for changes often led to tragic consequences and to degradation rather than progress.It seemed, however, that far from learning from others' mistakes, everyone just keeps repeating them.

About terrorism

We believe that any attempts to play games with terrorists. This may result in engulfing new regions…Unfortunately, Russia is not an exception.We cannot allow these criminals who already tasted blood to return back home and continue their evil doings. We think it is an enormous mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian government and its armed forces.

About Middle East

It would suffice to look at the situation in the Middle East and North Africa. Certainly political and social problems in this region have been piling up for a long time, and people there wish for changes naturally. [But] an aggressive foreign interference has resulted in a brazen destruction of national institutions and the lifestyle itself.Nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life.

I cannot help asking those who have caused the situation, do you realize now what you've done?It is now obvious that the power vacuum created in some countries of the Middle East and North Africa through the emergence of anarchy areas,  which immediately started to be filled with extremists and terrorists.

Many recruits also come from Libya..and now, the ranks of radicals are being joined by the members of the so-called moderate Syrian opposition supported by the Western countries..

They are armed and trained and then they defect to the so-called Islamic State.  The Islamic State has begun actively expanding to other regions. It is seeking dominance in the Islamic world.

In these circumstances, it is hypocritical and irresponsible to make loud declarations about the threat of international terrorism while turning a blind eye to the channels of financing and supporting terrorists. To those who do so, I would like to say — dear sirs, no doubt you are dealing with rough and cruel people, but they're in no way primitive or silly. They are just as clever as you are, and you never know who is manipulating whom.

About Syria

We should finally acknowledge that no one but President Assad's armed forces and Kurds militias are truly fighting the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations in Syria.We know about all the problems and contradictions in the region, but which were based on the reality. Dear colleagues, I must note that such an honest and frank approach of Russia has been recently used as a pretext to accuse it of its growing ambitions, as if those who say it have no ambitions at all.

We can no longer tolerate the current state of affairs in the world. What we actually propose is to be guided by common values and common interests, rather than ambitions.On the basis of international law, we must join efforts to address the problems that all of us are facing and create a genuinely broad international coalition against terrorism.And, naturally, the Muslim countries are to play a key role in the coalition, even more so because the Islamic State does not only pose a direct threat to them, but also desecrates one of the greatest world religions by its bloody crimes.

I would like to address Muslim spiritual leaders, as well. Your authority and your guidance are of great importance right now.It is essential to prevent people recruited by militants from making hasty decisions and those who have already been deceived, and who, due to various circumstances found themselves among terrorists, need help in finding a way back to normal life, laying down arms, and putting an end to fratricide.

Russia will shortly convene a ministerial meeting to carry out a comprehensive analysis of threats in the Middle East. Once again, this coordination should be based on the principles of the U.N. Charter.

About refugees

There were hundreds of thousands of them now, and there might be millions before long. In fact, it is a new great and tragic migration of peoples. I would like to stress refugees undoubtedly need our compassion and support. However, the — on the way to solve this problem at a fundamental level is to restore their statehood where it has been destroyed. Literally, any assistance to sovereign states can and must be offered rather than imposed exclusively and solely in accordance with the U.N. Charter.

Abou alliances

I would like to point out another sign of a growing economic selfishness. Some countries [have] chosen to create closed economic associations. Other states whose interests may be affected are not informed of anything. It seems that the rules of the game could be changed in favor of a narrow group of the privileged. This could unbalance the trade system completely and disintegrate the global economic space.That is why we propose discussing them within the U.N., WTO. Russia proposes harmonizing original economic projects.

About sanctions

Not long ago, it seemed that in the economic sphere, with its objective market loss, we would launch a leafwithout dividing lines.Nevertheless, today, unilateral sanctions circumventing the U.N. Charter have become commonplace, in addition to pursuing political objectives. The sanctions serve as a means of eliminating competitors.

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About Ukraine

…In Ukraine, where the discontent of population with the current authorities was used and the military coup was orchestrated from outside — that triggered a civil war as a result.

We're confident that only through full and faithful implementation of the Minsk agreements of February 12th, 2015, can we put an end to the bloodshed. What is needed is a genuine consideration for the interests and rights of the people in the Donbas region and respect for their choice.These steps will guarantee that Ukraine will develop as a civilized society.

About Cold War

Above all, I believe it is of the utmost importance to help restore government's institutions in Libya, support the new government of Iraq and provide comprehensive assistance to the legitimate government of Syria. Ensuring peace and regional and global stability remains the key objective of the international community, and we believe this means creating a space of equal and indivisible security, which is not for the select few but for everyone. Yet, it is a challenge and complicated and time-consuming task, but there is simply no other alternative.

However, the bloc thinking of the times of the Cold War and the desire to explore new geopolitical areas is still present among some of our colleagues.If the Warsaw Bloc stopped its existence, the Soviet Union have collapsedand, nevertheless, NATO continues expanding as well as its military infrastructure. This logic of confrontation was bound to spark off a grave geopolitical crisis. This is exactly what happened in Ukraine.

About climate

I suggest, however, we should take a wider view on this issue. Yes, we might defuse the problem for a while, by setting quotas on harmful emissions. But we will not solve it that way.We have to focus on introducing fundamental and new technologies inspired by nature, which would not damage the environment andallow us to restore the balance upset by biosphere and technosphere.

It is indeed a challenge of planetary scope. We need to join our efforts. I refer, first of all, to the states that have a solid research basis and have made significant advances in fundamental science.We propose convening a special forum under the U.N. auspices for a comprehensive consideration of the issues related to the depletion of natural resources, destruction of habitat and climate change.Russia would be ready to co-sponsor such a forum.

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