Sep 27, 2015 8:32 PM

The Latest: North Korea says US wants it to 'suffocate'

The Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS (AP) Developments from the final day of a record U.N. gathering of world leaders to launch sweeping development goals. All times local:


7:10 p.m.

North Korea is using a United Nations summit on development goals to accuse the United States of trying to "suffocate" it through sanctions.

The sanctions imposed by Washington are in retaliation for Pyongyang's refusal to mothball its nuclear weapons program. North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong said the U.S. measures are a result of America's "inveterate animosity and hostile policy" aimed at toppling the communist system.

The summit is focused on working toward eradicating extreme poverty, alleviating hunger and improving access to health care by 2030.


5:45 p.m.

Britain's prime minister says fighting poverty must include ending gender inequality and freeing international trade from "unfair barriers."

David Cameron also urged establishing global policies on taxation and transparency as a way of improving the lives of the world's poorest.

Cameron spoke at a U.N. summit of global leaders discussing ways to implement wide-ranging development targets over the next 15 years. They include wiping out extreme poverty through a combination of active programs and annual contributions of $100 billion to the world's underdeveloped nations.


5:30 p.m.

Ghana's president is putting the fight against global warming into terms that make sense to just about anyone.

President John Dramani Mahama says that if our definition of "developed" is shopping malls, glitzy neon lights and KFC, "then we will need two more planets, the size of our earth, to maintain and sustain the human race."

He spoke to a U.N. summit of world leaders on an ambitious new set of 15-year development goals, and he pointed out Africa's critical role.

Mahama says that if the world wants the tide of young Africans seeking work in Europe to stay at home, it will have to relocate more industry and production to the African continent.

He says Africa can be more than a producer of basic goods that others refine.


4:35 p.m.

France's president says he's earmarking an additional $4 billion annually for development programs aimed at fighting climate change and other global goals agreed to at a U.N. summit this week.

Noting that France is hosting a global summit on combating climate change later this year, Francois Hollande said France "wants to set an example" and that as host of the climate summit Nov. 30-Dec. 11 in Paris.

France will "call for behavior that needs to be exemplary," he said. The additional aid will be accompanied by the creation of a new development bank that he said would be Europe's largest.

Leaders gathered at the U.N.'s global development goals summit pledged to work toward eradicating extreme poverty, alleviating hunger and improving access to health care by 2030, and to fulfill an earlier pledge by developed countries to contribute $100 billion annually to the world's poor and developing countries.



France's president says he's optimistic a global climate summit in Paris later this year will reach an agreement, but more work is needed to determine how ambitious it will be.

Francois Hollande told reporters after a lunch with about 30 other leaders gathered at the U.N. that 81 countries have so far submitted national commitments toward fighting climate change, and he called on others to have their plans ready well before the Nov. 30-Dec.11 conference.

Hollande said "there is work to do" to match leaders' desires for a deal in Paris with the conditions need to make it "credible and capable of settling questions about warming for decades to come."

Also Sunday, Britain pledged $8.8 billion (5.8 billion pounds) in climate finance from 2016 to 2021, a 50 percent increase in spending for climate change-related projects.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd said the contribution was compatible with Britain's "fair share" of plans by developed countries to jointly mobilize $100 billion of climate finance annually by 2020.

On Friday China announced it would provide $3.1 billion to help vulnerable countries tackle climate change while the Asian Development Bank said it would double its annual climate finance to $6 billion by 2020.


3:30 p.m.

President Barack Obama has committed the U.S. to a new blueprint to eliminate poverty and hunger around the world.

The plan is being discussed at a global summit at the United Nations, ahead of a meeting of U.N. General Assembly session.

Obama told delegates that 800 million men, women and children scrape by on less than $1.25 a day and that billions of people are at risk of dying from preventable diseases. And, he called it a "moral outrage" that many children are just one mosquito bite away from death.

Obama says the goals of the 15-year plan are ambitious, but he says they can be achieved if governments work together.

He adds that recent progress, from declining hunger rates to more children enrolled in school, "gives us hope."


3:30 p.m.

China's glamorous first lady Peng Liyuan is maintaining her high profile at the United Nations, presiding at an event commemorating the U.N.'s 2030 development goals for people with disabilities.

The former folk singer has taken on a public profile that is unique among the wives of recent leaders of the People's Republic. At Sunday's event, she listened to a blind children's a cappella choir, unveiled commemorative stamps and delivered a speech in English.

"Madam Peng was moved to tears," said Zhang Haidi, chairwoman of the China Disabled Persons' Federation who attended the event.

Peng is a World Health Organization goodwill ambassador for tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS and on Saturday spoke at an event promoting the health of women, children and adolescents. The same day, she attended a separate event in her other role as UNESCO special envoy for girls' and women's education.

"We're so glad to have a wonderful first lady. As an artist, she has a real passion for people," Zhang said.


1:55 p.m.

Saudi Arabia is protesting any references to homosexuality in a sweeping new agenda for global development, saying it runs "counter to Islamic law."

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told a U.N. summit of world leaders Sunday that "mentioning sex in the text, to us, means exactly male and female. Mentioning family means consisting of a married man and woman."

He asserted his country's right to not follow any rules that relate to any "deviations" from that belief as the world moves forward on the new development agenda.

The so-called Sustainable Development Goals include a target to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights by 2030. Some states like Saudi Arabia and the Vatican are concerned that references to "sexual rights" include rights for gay people.


1:40 p.m.

Greece's prime minister has declared that the world can't talk about global development without addressing debt restructuring.

The newly re-elected Alexis Tsipras addressed a U.N. summit on sweeping new development goals over the next 15 years.

The goals aim to eliminate poverty, but Tsipras says the world can't tackle that "unless we can discuss how to build or improve welfare states instead of destroying them."

Greece has depended on bailout loans from its European partners and the International Monetary Fund since 2010.

Tsipras told the U.N. gathering that the Eurozone economic crisis cut his country's GDP by 25 percent. He called debt a challenge "at the center of our global financial system."

Tsipras pledged Friday to fast-track negotiations with international bailout creditors so Greece can get some much-needed debt relief.


1:25 p.m.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is urging the United States to lift its embargo on Cuba and to end other sanctions which "bypassed the UN Security Council."

The United States and Europe Union have imposed targeted sanctions on Russia for its take-over of Crimea and backing for rebel forces in eastern Ukraine.

He decried such coercive measures imposed in what he said were in violation of the U.N. Charter, saying they contradict new global development goals and undermine market principles in trade, finance and technology.

Commenting on a newly adopted program for combating global poverty, Lavrov reaffirmed Russia's commitment to supporting the global agenda "despite the challenging economic environment."

The foreign minister said Russia was a global leader in the cumulative reduction of the greenhouse gas emissions. He said Moscow has over-fulfilled its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol by reducing emissions by 31 percent below 1990 levels.


1:20 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is equating advances in women's rights to development in all sectors of society and is urging all nations to translate lip service into action in granting women full rights.

Merkel spoke Sunday at a side event to the United Nations Summit that focused on women's rights. She invoked a U.N. Security Council resolution passed 15 years ago focused on women's rights and prevention of gender-based violence, in saying more must be done to protect women and promote their status.

Declaring that "women's rights are also human rights," she cited the fates of women exposed to violence in Syria, Iraq and other crisis regions. And she called for more concrete action to reach the goals of full elimination of inequality between the sexes, saying "Signals are good, actions are better."


1 p.m.

Ukraine's president says the fighting in the eastern part of his country against pro-Russia separatists costs about $5 million a day that Ukraine could be putting into development.

Petro Poroshenko spoke to a U.N. summit Sunday, a day before Russian President Vladimir Putin was expected to make his first appearance at the U.N. General Assembly in a decade.

Putin wants to talk about fighting extremists in the Mideast during his visit. Ukraine and its allies, including the United States, want to talk about the Russian-backed moves in eastern Ukraine that Poroshenko says "has led to the emergence to a new form of poverty, sudden or unexpected poverty" for thousands of people.

Poroshenko says the fighting that began in early 2014 has made Ukraine lose "about one fifth of its economic potential."


11:50 a.m.

The Belarus president is warning of another world war "if we make one more step toward global conflict," and the ally of Russia made a not-so-veiled attack on Western efforts to address the conflict in Syria.

"Why are you throwing a president out of office? How does this concern you?" Alexander Lukashenko asked during his speech to a U.N. summit on global development that has drawn a record number of world leaders. "What do you want? What are you striving for?" He was speaking of Western demands that Syrian President Bashar Assad step down.

He lamented the "balance of power lost with the disintegration of the Soviet Union," of which his country was a member.

Lukashenko wasn't the only critic of the United States to take aim. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's speech railed against "one hegemon trying to impose its view on the world.'


11:00 a.m.

China's President Xi Jinping has announced a $10 million donation to the U.N. agency promoting women's rights to implement the 1995 blueprint adopted by world leaders to achieve gender equality which remains a new U.N. goal for 2030.

Xi, who is co-chairing a meeting to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the U.N. women's conference in Beijing that adopted the blueprint, also announced that in the next five years China will help developing countries establish 100 "health projects" for women and children.

He said China will also finance 100 projects to send poor girls to school, train 30,000 women from developing countries in China, and provide training opportunities for 100,000 women in other developing countries.

Xi did not mention criticism of China's arrest of women's rights activists.


9:45 a.m.

The French president has jolted the final day of a major U.N. summit to life by announcing his country's first airstrikes in Syria.

Francois Hollande spoke at a hastily arranged statement to reporters a few minutes before the beginning of a day of speeches by President Barack Obama and many others.

Hollande didn't take questions Sunday morning after giving details about the strike on an Islamic State group training camp.

But when asked afterward whether this was the beginning of the end of the war in Syria, the French president smiled but said nothing.

World leaders have already begun a whirlwind series of closed-door meetings on Syria on the U.N. sidelines.


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