Ban opens UNGA: State for Palestinians, security for Israel

UN secretary-general opens event expected to focus largely on Palestinian bid for recognition of a state by the world body; Obama also scheduled to address plenum.

Ban Ki moon UNGA 311 (photo credit: United Nations)
Ban Ki moon UNGA 311
(photo credit: United Nations)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday opened the 66th annual General Assembly of the international organization, saying that "the Palestinians deserve a state" and adding that "Israel needs security."
The Palestinians bid to gain recognition of a state with full membership at the United Nations was expected to be one of the central issues dominating the event in the coming week.
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US President Barack Obama was expected to follow Ban with a speech of his own to the General Assembly on Wednesday.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minster Binyamin Netanyahu were both scheduled to address the plenum on Friday.
Ban Ki-moon called for world leaders to take decisive action to battle climate change during his opening address.
"We must make progress on climate change ... we can not dismiss it because it affects someone else," he said.
He also addressed the famine affecting eastern Africa calling on those assembled to "help save the children in the Horn of Africa."