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Obama defends free trade at UN

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President Obama presented a broad look at the global landscape and called on world leaders to make a ?course correction? in his final U.N. speech on Tuesday. PHOTO: AP

US President Barack Obama has given his final address to the United Nation before he leaves office next year. Picture: AFP

PRESIDENT Barack Obama has given his final address to the United Nation before he leaves office next year, a passionate defence of globalisation which warned the world is in danger of dividing into conflict “along age-old lines of nation and tribe and race and religion.”

In a rousing speech that echoed many of the ideas pushed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in his visit to New York this week, the President warned that he world needs to defend free trade, because “as imperfect as they are, the principles of open markets and accountable governance, of democracy and human rights and international law that we have forged remain the firmest foundation for human progress in this century.”

President Obama warned that despite the great increase in wealth and health around the world in the past 25 years, the neglect of inequality has allowed “alternative visions of the world” to press forward “in the wealthiest countries and in the poorest”.

During his final address to the UN, U.S. President Barack Obama warned that he world needs to defend free trade. Picture: AP

During his final address to the UN, U.S. President Barack Obama warned that he world needs to defend free trade. Picture: APSource:AP

These dangers included “Religious fundamentalism; the politics of ethnicity, or tribe, or sect; aggressive nationalism; a crude populism — sometimes from the far left, but more often from the far right which seeks to restore what they believe was a better, simpler age free of outside contamination.”

In thinly veiled attack on Donald Trump, who has vowed to build a wall along the Mexican border if he is elected in November, President Obama said “today, a nation ringed by walls would only imprison itself.”

Mr Turnbull who listened to the speech alongside other world leaders, later described it as “a powerful and impassioned defence of liberal democracy”.

“He made the case for freedom around the world, he made the case for the rule of law, he made the case for open markets, he made the case for free trade and he described the dead end that protectionism represents,” Mr Turnbull said.

“He described the way in which we must not allow fear of open markets, fear of the world in fact, to take us backwards into poverty, to turn back the economic progress that he described so eloquently.”

During the meeting with Saudi Interior Minister Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, Mr Turnbull discussed the terrorism challenge and the need to counter extremist ideologies and challenge extremist propaganda to be challenged, including on social media.”

President Obama proposes a toast with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at a luncheon on the sidelines of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Picture: AFP

President Obama proposes a toast with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at a luncheon on the sidelines of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

The President’s speech came on the first day of the meeting of the UN General Assembly which Mr Turnbull will address tomorrow evening.

The Prime Minister has spent much of the day in bilateral meetings with world leaders including the Prime Ministers of Iraq and Belgium, the Saudi Arabian interior minister and the President of the European Council.

This afternoon he and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton will attend an invitation-only refugee summit organised by President Obama which will include Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UK Prime Minister Theresa May along with leaders from Pakistan, Lebanon, Jordan, Mexico Turkey, Ethiopia, Sweden and Bangladesh.

At this meeting the Prime Minster will his announce that Australia maintain its intact of refugees at almost 19,000 a year past 2018/19

“We believe that figure that we’ll reach in two years is a sustainable and maintainable one but obviously governments have the absolute right to review it and adjust it, either up or down as circumstances change,” he said.

US President Barack Obama gave a stirring final speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Picture: AFP

US President Barack Obama gave a stirring final speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

“But we believe that is a level of humanitarian intake, a humanitarian channel that can be maintained and of course, where the refugees that come in, can be settled.”

CEASEFIRE IN SYRIA “MUST HOLD”: BISHOP

Meanwhile Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has attended a meeting of the International Syria Support Group meeting co-hosted by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

She said there was a unanimous view that the ceasefire in the Syrian conflict “must hold”.

The meeting came as the UN suspended all aid convoys to Syria following the deadly aerial bombing of a 31 truck convoy on Monday and Coalition’s earlier accidental attack on Syrian army position which killed up 80 of its soldiers.

“We have adjourned the meeting for a couple of days, it will reconvene possibly Thursday afternoon or Friday morning at which time we expect to have a plan in place to ensure that in Syria, the parties to this conflict can de-escalate, and the humanitarian work — which of course is leading to the outflow of displaced people and those who are seeking to flee this conflict — can come to an end,” Ms Bishop said.