NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Barack Obama said at the UN General Assembly Monday that the upcoming battle to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul will be challenging but is critical to defeating ISIS.
Obama met Monday with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi while visiting New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly. He said the extremist group has embedded itself “deeply” in Mosul but that the U.S. and its partners are confident they can be in a position to move forward in Mosul “fairly rapidly.”
Obama said much of the challenge is to rapidly provide humanitarian assistance to people displaced by the fight. He says he plans to ask Congress and other countries to step up to support those humanitarian efforts.
He said he hoped there would be progress by the end of the year.
Abadi said ISIS must be “crushed on the ground.” He’s calling the group a “huge threat” and a “dangerous terrorist organization.”
Obama also met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on the sidelines of the assembly, and the White House said they both condemned North Korea’s recent nuclear test.
The White House says the two countries agreed to cooperate more aggressively in the U.N. Security Council and “in law enforcement channels” on the North Korea issue. They also discussed economic ties between the U.S. and China.
A White House statement describing the meeting makes no specific reference to maritime issues. But the White House says the leaders discussed climate change, trade and other key issues.
The bombings in Chelsea and Seaside Heights were also addressed at the assembly Monday. A human rights advocate said the arrest of Afghan-born U.S. citizen Ahmad Khan Rahami in connection with the bombings should not fuel the misconception that accepting more refugees will lead to more terrorist acts.
Philippe Bolopion, deputy director of global advocacy for Human Rights Watch, said Monday that efforts to single out certain communities and make them responsible for the acts of a few individuals will likely backfire.
“We certainly hope that this arrest will not be a distraction from trying to better assist 65 million people that are on the move, half of whom are children, whose lives are being thrown into chaos by conflict or persecution,” Bolopion said on the sidelines of the U.N. Summit on Refugees and Migrants.
At the start of the day, world leaders and foreign ministers from 193 countries approved wide-ranging document aimed at providing a more humane and coordinated response to the refugee crisis.
The 22-page “New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants,” is not legally binding and lacks concrete commitments but calls on countries to protect refugees’ human rights, boost humanitarian aid and increase resettlement of refugees.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called calling on world leaders to commit to “upholding the rights and dignity of everyone force by circumstance to flee their homes in search of a better life.”
A second summit to be hosted by Obama on Tuesday will seek concrete pledges from leaders to help bear the cost of assisting and resettling the world’s 65.3 million migrants and refugees.
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