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State Dept. Outlines Top 3 U.S. Priorities at UN General Assembly

President Obama greets United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the Leaders' Summit on Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism at the United Nations headquarters on Sept. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen)

WASHINGTON — The State Department said today there are three “topline priorities” of the United States heading into this month’s UN General Assembly: “humanitarian response, peace and security, and countering terrorism and violent extremism.”

Sheba Crocker, assistant secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, told reporters at a briefing on the upcoming UN gathering, which begins this weekend in New York.

Crockers said the priorities would be “in keeping with the president’s determination for the past eight years to use this unique diplomatic environment of UNGA to maximum positive effect.”

In addition to the trio of top priorities, the U.S. will also the United States will also “move forward with UN member states on a number of other issues of continuing importance, including again climate change, sustainable development, human rights, nuclear disarmament, and UN reform.”

Obama is scheduled to deliver his final address to the UNGA next Tuesday.

That day, the president hosts a Leaders Summit on Refugees co-hosted by Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, Jordan, Sweden and Mexico.

“We expect that the summit will result in significant new sustained commitments to UN humanitarian appeals, expanded refugee resettlement programs or alternative legal pathways for admission, and new opportunities for refugees and their host communities to benefit from improved refugee access to education and to legal employment,” Crocker said.

Asked if any meetings with Iran, sidelines or otherwise, were on the schedule, Crocker replied, “At this stage, we have nothing to say about any possible meetings that may be taking place between the secretary and his counterparts.”

There will also be a climate change focus, specifically centered around last December’s Paris agreement “with the goal of bringing the agreement into force by the end of this year.”

Crocker said “numerous” U.S. government officials are “talking all the time to other counterparts in other governments to try to encourage other countries to sign up this year so that hopefully the agreement will come into force this year.”