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BLITZER’S BLOG: World leaders flock to New York
Flags fly outside the United Nations headquarters in New York in advance of the annual General Assembly.
September 19th, 2011
02:42 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: World leaders flock to New York

By CNN’s Wolf Blitzer

I've been coming to New York almost every September for a long time, because of the United Nations General Assembly. It convenes at the same time each year. Leaders flock from all over the world, making it a good opportunity to sit down with some of them.

In recent years, I've also been able to interview former President Bill Clinton. He hosts his Clinton Global Initiative in New York at the same time, to allow world leaders to attend both the General Assembly and the CGI. In fact, tomorrow I'll be sitting down with Clinton.

There's no shortage of subjects to discuss, including this week's showdown over the status of the Palestinians. On Friday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will officially ask for state recognition from the U.N. It's turning out to be quite a dilemma for President Obama and his administration. As of this writing, I don't know how this issue will play out.

President Obama arrives here today. He will address the General Assembly on Wednesday, as well as attend a political fundraiser for his re-election campaign and attend the CGI. So like almost all the leaders coming to New York, the president will be multitasking.

With all these world leaders in town, you can only imagine the gridlock in New York during a week like this. Driving crosstown can be a nightmare, especially if you're anywhere close to the United Nations. Security is very tight for understandable reasons - probably tighter this year because it comes just after the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Having said that, there's no place I would rather be right now. For a journalist, you always want to be where the action is, and the action this week is here.

Wolf's interview with former President Bill Clinton airs Tuesday on "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer," 5-7 p.m. ET on CNN.

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Filed under: Bill Clinton • New York • United Nations • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Marry

    The Palestinians choose bad timing for their request. President Obama could support them much better and put real pressure on Israel during his second term. I am sure, he sees just as many other people that Israel is very “conservative” and has no real interest to change with the money and support from the US backing them. But, exactly that should put the US in a position to talk openly with both parties (I am sure, the President would love to talk openly to Israel!). A conflict that has been allowed to stay unresolved for so long develops its very own dynamics, gets more complicated and sides harden in the process. So the only way out is hard work and listening to the other side. But, it takes good will and that I think is missing especially on the Israeli side – the hardliners just do not want to move (out of the settlements)! Israel got her statehood from the UN – funny, that THEY complain and deny the Palestinians the same.

    September 22, 2011 at 4:11 am |

    And 1800 a month? You've got to be doing something wrong. I've had major medical issues and I don't pay anything near $1800.00 a month.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:13 am |
  3. Dana in Alaska

    It's time to acknowledge the Palestinians. The world gave the Jewish their homeland now Israel needs to make a leap of faith and just do the right thing. If it works maybe the Palestinians will back away from Hamas and denounce terrorism, if it doesn't Israel still has an army.

    September 20, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  4. Ann

    My husband's family has Jewish roots and we just don't see anything wrong with Palestine being part of the UN. Isn't truly believing in democracy giving everyone a voice and then the majority rules. America doesn't have to be the dictator of the world. If the majority of other countries feel Palestine should be part of the UN the US should not be the sole reason their not allowed to be. One can't believe in democracy and then so easily abandon it when some feel the majority don't agree with your perspective.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Dana in Alaska

      Ann i agree with you, I think it's completely on Israels shoulders. By them accepting the proposal they would be sending a powerful message to the world. WE Will Try !!!

      September 20, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  5. Rich

    Wolf the Palestinian issue is only an issue because Obama makes it one. Palestine is its own country and Israel is it's own country. They need to figure their own futures out without outside interference and opinions from Obama or America. We do not live their they do and it is up to them to chart their own course what ever that may be. That is the problem with America. They keep medaling in other countries affairs at the expense of the America people and the determent of those residing in these countries. Americas own economy is crumbling around them because of mismanagement by it's government and NOW Obama is some authority on what they should do with their country? That is laughable.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  6. Mark L.

    The U.N. must NOT allow nor authorize the Palestinian territories in either the Gaza or West Bank to be recognized as a state. This would have dire consequences in the Middle East region. If anything, we should recognize the Palestinian authority as a bonafide sponsor of terrorist activities against innocent Israeli civilians vs. statehood.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  7. Manuel

    If anyone gets to speak to Obama, ask him to focus on this country and the mess we are in and then maybe consider dealing with issues pertaining to other countries. FOCUS

    September 20, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  8. Facts

    Billclinton administration Job Creation = 30 Million jobs
    Bush administration = 3 Million jobs and enourmous military spending.

    Who was better you tell me

    September 20, 2011 at 11:38 am |
  9. lr

    "multi-tasking"... you are so generous.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:30 am |
  10. David Williams

    Palestine's license plate will read: "Terrorists Welcome".

    September 20, 2011 at 11:01 am |
  11. NYCitizen

    As a New Yorker....I wish they would (a) move the UN to somewhere else, like Area 51 or a moon colony or every year a different U.S. state hosts the UN session...this way no state has to do this for another 50 years....I am so tired of the massive traffic jams and transit delays, and even walking is tough when the UN is in town! 🙂

    September 20, 2011 at 10:42 am |
  12. Bruce Rubin

    This is just a diversion from the Arab League to take attention from the massive oppression the Arab nations bestow on their own people. If the UN gives Palestinian member status now, any attack like the daily rocket volleys is no longer an attack by terrorists but by a UN recognized Sovereign Nation. Becomes a very different situation.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  13. Pat Musto

    I watched the interview that Wolf did of the Republican candidates for president. In the interview, Wolf asked about a young man who did not buy health insurance because he did not want to spend the $300 or $400 a month. I would like to know where this man could get health insurance for that low a price. My last quote from Blue Cross was $1800 a month. Big difference.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:34 am |
  14. Muslim

    Palestinian must be recognized by the USA

    September 20, 2011 at 3:36 am |
    • Whizerd

      Only when theres money involved.

      September 20, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  15. TruthSpeaks

    President Bill Clinton wasnt great he didnt do anything great for americans rather then starting three major and sending military forces into three countries and one air bombing of iraq.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:08 am |
    • Manuel

      Someone brought up Bill Clinton, why? FYI, he's kind of not a our president for over a decade.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Whizerd

      you forgot to add.."because it was already an implemented and approved agenda from Bush"

      September 20, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  16. Hermanovic

    If Palestine is recognized now as a state we're back in '48 2-state situation. Just like in '48 a big part of the Arab world now (Hezbollah, Hamas, Al-qaida, Syrie, Libanon, Iran, Libya) have no intention at all to allow a Jewish state to survive in the Middle East. For these Arab organisations and countries the Palestine state is nothing more than a tool to undermine the stability of Israel, which is why they prefer to support suicide bombers and rocket builders in the Gaza strip rather than builiding houses or schools.
    At the moment there are 5 revolutions going on in the Arab world, and Libanon is in a permanent state of 'almost civil war'. It seems that the Palestinians want to use these dangerous times to take advantage of the vulnerability of the US and Israel. This is a very dangerous game, and I hope the USA will not allow them to get what they want.

    September 19, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
    • Whizerd

      They will always allow fellow gamers......

      September 20, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  17. brown

    America and its AIPAC controlled Congress are on the wrong side of history.

    Palestinians deserve their own state! Shame on America!

    September 19, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
  18. TG

    There is indeed no "shortage of subjects to discuss" that involves the United Nations, for the world's problems are mounting, with the United States having major troubles and is also expected to be at the forefront in providing some sort of resolution to the other nations worries. Whether it be the economy, the ecology, the increasing of religious antagonism, or the expectation of nations for the United States, as a member of the G7, to assist them in resolving their cumulative woes, the United Nations is utilized as a strong link to accomplish this.

    However, the combination of the United States/ Britain, has set the pace for the rest of the world, with the dollar being the currency to acquire. Though losing some of it's footing to China, the United States is still looked upon like a "prophet", with it's economy and monetary assistance still preferred.

    Both the United Nations and the Anglo/American combination powers are placing major roles in the Bible. The Anglo/American world governments are noted as the ' seventh king ' at Revelation 17:10, whereas the United Nations is the "eighth king" in verse 11, that is "springs from the seven" kings of Bible prophecy. Without the support of the last of the seven kings, the Anglo/American dual world power, the United Nations would possibly fold, just as it's predecessor the League of Nations did in 1939.

    It was only at the behest of both the United States (President Woodrow Wilson) and Britain (Prime minister Lloyd George) that the League of Nations was originally formed in 1920, though the United States was not a member. Because of the strong diplomatic and trade ties with each other, and having fought side by side during World Wars I and II, their special relationship has continued till today.

    Together, these had succeeded in getting the world "to make an image to the wild beast"(Rev 13:14), this "image" being first the League of Nations and then the United Nations, that was set up on October 24, 1945, almost immediately after the end of World War II. This "image" mirrors the thoughts and intentions of the member governments of the world in the United Nations these days and plays a primary role in the destruction of the "harlot", Babylon the Great", the world empire of false religion.(Rev 17:5, 16)

    September 19, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
  19. glow

    It's time for the world to learn, the "secret code" can achieve a 90% accuracy rate within the oil market. What I'm trying to do is wake you up so that you can see that you can make as much money as you want within the oil market by using the "secret code". So here is the proof, shown live with NO POSSIBLE WAY to fake!! Google Oil Trading Academy to learn more.

    September 19, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
  20. yomster

    I have watched Wolf for many years but never saw a worse interview as the one he had this evening with Michelle Bachmann. Instead of Wolf correcting Bachmann that What Obama said about negotiating from pre 1967 border was the same things Bush,Carter , Bush and previous Israeli Prime Ministers have said and agreed upon.
    On tax increase for the rich, Wolf has figures to counter Bachmann to come off the talking points of the Tea Party. Clinton raised taxes and created millions of jobs and left surplus compared to Bush cutting taxes for the rich and lost 8 million jobs and sent our economy into recession.

    September 19, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
  21. sam

    wow.....look at our stand on this issue.......Israel is allowed to build illegal settlements and Israeli prime minister get standing ovation....we don’t see anything wrong with Israel??? And turn our blind eyes on every illegal thing they do even when they kill innocent ppl across the border.....are this our principles of democracy this really v stand tht guy is seeking recognition by legal means and v gone veto that....way to go promoting democracy….

    September 19, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
  22. Joseph Stahley

    I want the Palestinians to have a full seat at the table so they can bring charges of crimes against humanity against Israel..Only then can peace be brought about once Israel has to defend it it's past actions and either reform or bring condemnation upon themselves as being what they are from even the start of the bible..barbarians, hell bent to sent up an artificial state..

    September 19, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
  23. H. Kisssingerio

    They're only coming here because it's safer that where they're from.

    September 19, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    Last year it was the Israeli atrocities against the Mavi Marmara relief to Gaza – this year it's the debacle of the Israeli Lobby-engi­neered American Veto at the Security Council. The year before that was the Israeli atrocity of the 'Cast Lead' attack on Gaza...

    Continued Israeli Apartheid over Palestine can now be measured in months rather than decades...

    The top Israeli legal teams expect Apartheid to be sued out of existance once the Palestinia­n state is declared ...

    Why is Netanyahu and Lieberman'­s Israel hanging on to Apartheid, then? – because they have no choice at this point. After Apartheid comes the One State Solution to Apartheid

    Here’s Israeli PM Olmert warning Israel five years ago of exactly this outcome:
    "…when the 2 state solution collapses, we face a South African-st­yle struggle for equal voting rights (also for the Palestinia­ns in the territorie­s), as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished"

    September 19, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • Alison Carb Sussman

      Get your facts straight, buddy! Israel is not the cause of the Palestinian's misfortune. The Palestinians are the cause of their own misfortune.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
      • Whizerd

        Religion, primarily Christianity, is the cause....

        September 20, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  25. Volafox

    There was a time when a fledgeling country of persecuted people needed protection in getting themselves established in a rather hostile land. They stood up and fought for their right to live in this land, and won. Since then, any time someone has even looked in the general direction of this little place with anything other than bald adoration, they have been condemned as anti-semetic, anti-christian, or even worse, anti-christ. Yes, they can live there. NO, they can no longer be the neighborhood bully, kicking sand in the faces of those who are unlike themselves, or their neighbors, or anyone else, then run screaming to the skirts of America's Liberty for us to back them up for their bad behavior. For crying out loud, whats the worst that can happen if Palestine becomes its own country, or state, or whatever the bloody hell it wants to be? I sincerely doubt that cats and dogs will marry, the sun will rise in the west, or Michelle Bachman and Rick Perry will suddenly gain intelligence.

    September 19, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  26. Anonymous

    freeze on settlement­s is not a concession­. A freeze on settlement­s is demanding that Israel abide by it's internatio­nal legal obligation­s. That's the problem with negotiatio­ns. Israel and U.S. seem to think that settlement­s, borders, East Jerusalem and indeed the right to return for Palestinia­n refugees are items to be negotiated­. All of these issues involve Israel violating internatio­nal law and Palestinia­n rights. You don't negotiate rights, you enforce them.

    September 19, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  27. Anonymous

    There will be a Palestinia­­n State Either this year or in 10 years, I dont know why we have to be the bad guys in this; China, Russia, Europe at the end of this will all end up looking good that they supported a Palestinia­­n State, but big bad America did not. We garner nothing but bad sentiment to over billion people, we close our markets to them and they are less likely to buy MADE in the USA or do Business with US Companies after, our fragile economy cannot take another blow like this...Pre­­sident Obama should just vote for a Palestinia­­n State (which is inevitable anyway) and get it over with, why not look like the good guys for once. Deal with the fall out later....I­­t is also in Israel best Intrest also, what if Abbas turns around after US veto and dissolves the PA, and demands to be citzens of a greater Israel then what...its lose-lose if US vetos the resolution in Security Counil. Just get it over with...”

    September 19, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  28. Val

    Let the MUSLIM WORLD work out their differences!

    September 19, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  29. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    Mr. Blitzer:

    Most Americans truly admire you for your even handed approach on every issue, including the Israeli-Palestine issue.

    While there are many Jews who are critical of the Jewish nation, there are barely any Muslims who will call a spade-a-spade. Consequently while the media is agog with stories of Israeli atrocities in Gaza and the West bank, the settlement activities etc., our media shies away from any story depicting Palestinian atrocities.

    My former countryman from India CNN's own Mr. Fareed Zakaria has been leading this crusade to hoodwink Americans through half truths, cherry picked facts, and references to either outright biased or narrow studies. Such people never ever lose an opportunity to bash America and America's policies for most of the ills facing the Muslim world, including the Muslim community right here in America, taking AMERICANS ON A ENDLESS GUILT TRIP while they cloak themselves as the greatest of American patriots.

    Mr. Zakaria has called on Egypt to abrogate the peace treaty with Israel shamelessly calling it a treaty between two regimes & not two peoples, called Hamas, Hezbollah & the Muslim Brotherhood moderates while disregarding their appeals for the destruction of the Jewish nation, and blamed America for all the hatredness in the Muslim world.

    Even in his article on 9/11 titled "9/11 Reflections & Aftermath" on CNN-GPS after the initial expression of Horror & Anger Mr. Zakaria goes about investigating the causes for this ghastly act, and finds ready answers in American policies. Then he writes a spate of articles on Newsweek, CNN, Time etc. including Why they hate us”, “How America overreacted to 9-11”, “Living with Radical Islam”, “How Moderate Muslims fought the battle against Extremists & WON!” , “The Post-American World” etc.etc. going about his well entrenched Anti-American, Pro-Islamic agenda.
    Besides Mr.Zakaria there are several others either with an Islamic agenda or extreme liberals incl. Mr. Ethan Casey, Dean Obeidallah, ho are working day & night to mislead America.

    Can we hope to see some unbiased, factual, balanced reports from CNN from truly fair reporters like yourself please!

    September 19, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • bayravin

      Yes, my countryman, you did not consider one aspect. The west goes around the world preaching morals whereas the others don't. So, the west has to live up to their sermons; else they will looked upon as hypocrites. And, they have been hyprocrites when it comes to the Israeli-Palestiinean issue.

      September 19, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • TruthSpeaks

      Did you know that Fareed Zakaria belongs to a group called the CFR? the Council on Foreign Relations.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:11 am |
    • shawn

      you are a rare wonderful read to behold . I am scared to even say my husband's mother was from Israel [ now passed ] . I have tried to interject what you are saying and have been asked to leave a couple homes. so thank you .. being an american jew who has israeli relatives can be a nightmare

      September 20, 2011 at 1:54 am |
      • Whizerd

        Then, just be HUMAN! Problem solved..

        September 20, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  30. DANNY

    I honestly do not believe the USA should recognize a terrorist state such as Palestine.

    September 19, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • Whizerd

      I don't think the US should be recognized as a free and democratic society.
      The people are starting to wake up though*nod*

      September 20, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  31. reader10

    Move the UN building to another country,save all kinds of money.

    September 19, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  32. Middle America

    If you get to talk to Obama, tell him he really needs to rebuke Abbas and warn everyone who votes for Palestinian statehood that they will loose USA financial support.

    September 19, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Anonymous

      Ya im sure China, Russia, England, France, Norway, Sweden, Finland, care what biased bought members of congress think, President Obama should do the right thing and Vote for Palestinian State, it is a historic opportunity

      September 19, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  33. vic , nashville ,tn

    Time for UN to recognize Palestinian nearly 50 years gone there is no solution now we have huge deficit and bad economy and Arab world is changing. Let it go

    We wasted our money and time in 1978 and 1993 we have to build our nation we have to find jobs for 14 millions Americans that is our priority now

    September 19, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Whizerd

      Which means, get the hell out of those countries' business, and bring our troops home to protect the citizens..thereby bringing trillions to the economy that is blatantly wasted and pocketed to fund needless, and reasonless war and propaganda.

      September 20, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
      • Whizerd

        Or..since its war...and we are already there...strike swiftly and true..then take-over the country. Instead of saying" Oh, were sorry for getting involved, we will leave now, and heres the money to rebuild".

        September 20, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  34. Muslim

    This Palestinian state pageantry may be a ploy for a Mustafa Kamal Attaturk moment for Mahmoud Abbas, that he can get a Palestinian state recognized internationally so he must be the champion of the Palestinian cause; while he and FataH are in the pockets of Israel.

    September 19, 2011 at 3:17 pm |

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