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Making their debut at the 193-member General Assembly are the new leaders of young governments in the so-called Arab Spring nations who came in to deliver economic results and now must also address anti-Western sentiment trigged by an anti- Islam video that enraged their Muslim electorate.
“We are living through a period of unease,” UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon said at the opening of the 67th session of the General Assembly on Sept. 18. “We are also seeing incidents of intolerance and hatred that are then exploited by others. Voices of moderation and calm need to make themselves heard at this time.”
Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, will be in New York for four days as will the leaders of Libya, Yemen and Tunisia -- the other countries that cast away the old guard.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whose quest for statehood dominated last year’s proceedings, will be back with lowered expectations. This time, in his speech, he plans to ask for a less controversial upgrade of Palestinian status at the UN that falls short of recognition of sovereignty.