The Obama Agenda at the United Nations

President Obama’s official agenda for the UN Summit will be released sometime tomorrow. Yesterday, at an address at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer gave something of a thematic overview of the issues and messages that the United States will be pushing next week.  Her full remarks are below. A couple of things stand out.

1) Nuclear non proliferation and disarmament still top the agenda.  Last year, the president chaired a meeting of the Security Council dedicated to the topic–which was historic for the fact that it was the first time an American president chaired a Council meeting in person.  This year the focus will be less thematic, and more narrowly trained on building support for Iran sanctions. EG:

While progress has been made, we are also focused on the issue of enforcement. One of the factors critical to realizing the President’s goal of a nuclear free world is compliance with international obligations, and the need for consequences when these agreements are violated…

Iran has repeatedly failed to live up to its own commitments and continues to violate its obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions, the NPT, and its IAEA Safeguards Agreement. It has also failed to address the fundamental concerns related to its nuclear program. In June the Security Council responded by adopting Resolution 1929 which strengthens sanctions on Iran. Following its adoption, we have witnessed enhanced measures to hold Iran accountable, including robust EU sanctions, and then follow-up action from Canada, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

While the door is still open to engagement and diplomacy, we will continue to increase pressure on Iran’s leaders to fulfill their obligations and cease their irresponsible behavior. We are strongly urging other states to join a growing international consensus to ensure that the sanctions in Resolution 1929 are fully implemented.

2) This will not come as surprise to many of us who follow these things closely, but do expect the Obama administration to tout two new U.S. development programs during the MDG summit: Feed the Future and the Global Health Initiative.  Feed the Future is a program that will commit $3.5 billion over the next three years to help select countries fight the root causes of hunger. The Global Health Initiative is a 6 year, $63 billion program to help select countries improve their health systems and promote other global health priorities. Expect both to feature prominently in remarks by American officials as evidence that the Obama administration is committed to the MDGs.

Here is Brimmer’s speech. I will post a transcript when it’s available.