President Barack Obama declared Monday that the United States does not want a new Cold War over the Ukraine conflict and is prepared to work with Russia and Iran on the Syrian crisis.
“The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict,” Obama said of Syria, addressing the United Nations General Assembly.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin was due to address the assembly later and has urged world powers to back Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in his battle against the Islamic State group.
Obama argued it would be wrong to support a “tyrant” like Assad, but that Washington was ready to work with anyone ready to take on the jihadist threat, even Moscow and traditional US foe Tehran.
And he insisted that the sanctions Western powers imposed on Moscow in the wake of Russia’s intervention in Ukraine were meant to protect Kiev’s sovereignty not trigger conflict with Moscow.
“We cannot stand by when the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a nation is flagrantly violated,” he said.
“If that happens without consequence in Ukraine, it could happen to any nation gathered here today.
“That’s the basis of the sanctions that the United States and our partners impose on Russia. It is not a desire to return to a Cold War,” he said.