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    Once More, With Clarity: Iran, Patriotism Dominate Third Day of UNGA Debate

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    The third day of the United Nations high level debate concluded on Thursday. Here are key moments of the meeting, including speakers from Israel, Saudi Arabia and European Union.


    Israeli Prime Minister Israel Katz claimed on Thursday that Iran is the "main threat" to stability and security in the Middle East. 

    The foreign minister reached out to nations in the region, claiming that all face a common threat from Tehran; he claimed that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei personally ordered the recent attack on the Saudi oil refineries – an allegation Iran has denied.

    “This terror attack against Saudi Arabia was done on the direct orders of Iranian [Supreme] Leader Ali Khamenei,” Katz declared. “Iran is the biggest terror state, and the biggest sponsor of terror in the world.”

    Katz also called on world leaders to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, as the US did recently. The move by Washington was condemned by the international community.

    Saudi Arabia

    The Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim Al-Assaf, joined with Israel in calling on the international community to ramp up pressure on Iran “with every tool available,” but added that cutting off financial ties was the most effective way to deal with Tehran.

    "We have known that regime for 40 years. It is good at nothing but masterminding explosions, destruction and assassinations, not only in our region but also throughout the world," Al-Assaf told the General Assembly. “It is necessary for the international community to realize that cutting off sources of finance is the best way to compel the regime to renounce its militias, prevent it from developing ballistic missiles and put an end to its destabilizing activities in the region and the world."

    West Bank

    The president of the Palestinian Autonomy, Mahmoud Abbas, threatened that all agreements signed with the government of Israel will be voided if Tel Aviv proceeds with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ‘arrogant’ promise to annex more land. He condemned the US for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

    The West Bank and Gaza Strip considers Eastern Jerusalem part of its territory and its capital.

    European Union

    European Council President Donald Tusk commented on Trump’s conflation of “patriotism” with “globalism” two days prior. Without mentioning Trump by name, Tusk opined that “patriotism of the 21st century must also have a global dimension.”

    He added that history shows how easily love of one’s country can turn into hatred toward neighboring nations. In his speech two days ago, Trump asserted that globalism makes world leaders “ignore their own national interests.”


    Trump’s sentiments regarding national interests found support in the words of Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, who spoke before the UN General Assembly about Hungary’s position on immigration.

    He suggested that Hungarians are "proud that we could preserve Hungary as a Hungarian country,” adding that Budapest alone would decide "with whom we would like to live together in our country and with whom not."

    According to the Foreign Minister, the "dangerous phenomenon" of mass migration disrupts and overwhelms host countries.


    Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic called on Balkan nations to create a common market and an economic zone that will function until Serbia enters the EU.

    "No one should be afraid of the idea of a new Yugoslavia, or that we want to establish hegemony of Serbia. I am sure that the common market in the western Balkans will be very interesting for everyone if we are going to work together," Vucic said during a speech at the UN General Assembly. 

    He added that the proposed economic zone is not intended to become an alternative for the EU, but is a temporary solution “until we conclude this large process of European integration."


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