Mideast Conflicts, Brexit on Tap at UN

Mideast Conflicts, Brexit on Tap at UN

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the threat posed by Iran and Britain's fraught exit from the European Union are likely topics Thursday as world leaders gather for a third day of speeches at the United Nations.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and diplomats from Israel and Saudi Arabia, which blames Tehran for an attack on its key oil sites, are expected to push their causes.

Iran has denied any involvement in the Saudi strike, which jolted global oil prices and temporarily knocked out nearly 6% of daily global crude oil production.

Saudi Arabia insists Iranian weapons were used and has invited U.N. investigators to assess where the strikes were launched from. The U.S., France, Britain and Germany also blame Iran.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani did not refer to the attacks in his speech on Wednesday. He has scheduled a news conference for Thursday.

Israel considers Iran to be its greatest enemy and has been a leading opponent to the 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Tehran is trying to build a nuclear bomb — which Iran denies — and has accused the Iranians of violating provisions of the agreement.

Israel, meanwhile, finds itself in a political deadlock after national elections in which neither Netanyahu's Likud party nor Benny Gantz's centrist Blue and White secured the required parliamentary majority needed to form a government.

Since Netanyahu's 2009 election, the Palestinians have refused to negotiate with Israel, which has expanded its settlements and won U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The outgoing president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, also is scheduled to speak as the EU steels itself for the possibility that Britain could crash out of the bloc without a deal on Oct. 31.

Britain's embattled prime minister, Boris Johnson, did not touch on his country's crisis in his inaugural address to the world body late Tuesday, when he delivered a frenetic speech on the dangers and merits of technology.

Leaders from small countries struggling with war, poverty and inequality also will have their say before the world body.

(KR)