September 19, 2010 in Nation/World

Ahmadinejad vows to ‘disrupt’ Mideast plans

Iranian leader meets with Syria’s president
Albert Aji Associated Press
Associated Press photo

Majid Saatchi, left, of Island Park, N.Y., demonstrates Saturday against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s appearance at the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
(Full-size photo)

Summit will review millennium goals

UNITED NATIONS – At the dawn of the new millennium, world leaders pledged to tackle poverty, disease, ignorance and inequality – and went beyond generalities to commit themselves to specific goals. Progress has been made over the past decade, but many countries are still struggling to meet the 2015 target.

On Monday, another summit will open in New York to review what has, and hasn’t, been done.

“These Millennium Development Goals are a promise of world leaders,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

But recent reports show the world’s poorest countries have seen a lack of progress in reducing mother and child deaths, boosting access to basic sanitation, and promoting women’s equality.

Ban warned that the global economic crisis is making matters worse and that although aid to developing countries is at an all-time high, it is still $20 billion short on commitments for this year, of which $16 billion was reserved for Africa.

Associated Press

DAMASCUS, Syria – Iran’s president said Saturday that Middle Eastern countries will “disrupt” American and Israeli plans to change the political geography of the region, appearing to brush aside U.S. efforts to forge a regional peace deal between Israel and its neighbors.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made the comments during a brief stop in Syria, a key ally in Tehran’s confrontation with the West, on his way to New York for the U.N. General Assembly. Ahmadinejad held talks with his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Assad.

The meeting comes two days after Assad sat down with the Obama administration’s special Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, in Damascus to discuss starting separate Syria-Israel peace talks.

The back-to-back trips underscored the battle for influence in Syria between Washington and Tehran. Seeking to isolate Iran, President Barack Obama has tried unsuccessfully to pry Damascus away from its alliance.

Speaking in Damascus, Ahmadinejad appeared to dismiss U.S. efforts to forge a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians and a wider deal with its neighbors. He said countries in the Middle East will “disrupt” U.S. and Israeli plans, but did not elaborate.

“Those who want to change the political geography of the region must know that they will have no place in the future of the region,” Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by Iran’s state-run news agency IRNA.

The U.S. began reaching out to Syria soon after President Barack Obama took office, and has made repeated overtures to Damascus this year.

Mitchell said during his visit Thursday that the U.S. was determined to reach a comprehensive peace in the Middle East and that the administration’s efforts to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict did not contradict peace between Israel and Syria.

© Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

There is one comment on this story. Click here to view comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email