The world's leaders are in New York for the 68th annual U.N. General Assembly. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon kicked off the assembly, saying that this generation has the power to "wipe poverty from the face of the Earth."
Among the leaders speaking Tuesday: U.S. President Barack Obama, who began just after 10 a.m. ET. He called for a U.N. resolution to back an agreement for Syria to hand over its chemical weapons stockpile.
The key question at Tuesday's opening of the General Assembly was whether Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani would change years of diplomatic animosity by meeting in person, even if just for a handshake. Rouhani is due to speak in the afternoon.
Here are the latest updates:
1:22 p.m. -- Abdullah has finished. Seven speakers are left in what was supposed to be the "morning session." Once again, here is the full list of today's 34 speakers: http://gadebate.un.org/. We're on speaker No. 13. New Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, scheduled for the afternoon session, is speaker No. 24.
1:18 p.m. -- Abdullah commended Israel's prime minister and the Palestinian president for pursuing peace talks and urged that there "be no actions to derail" the negotiations. He cited settlement construction and "unilateral actions that threaten the status quo" as obstacles that would scuttle peace talks.
1:17 p.m. -- As part of an argument that the world needs to work for an end to violence in Syria, Jordan's King Abdullah II warns that the number of Syrian refugees coming into neighboring Jordan is becoming too much for his nation to sustain. He said the number already represents 10% of Jordan's population -- and it could be 20% by next year. "These are not just numbers -- they are people" who need food, health care and more, Abdullah said. "Not even the strongest economies can absorb this demand on infrastructure and resources, let alone (a small country) and the fourth water-poorest country" in the world.
1:11 p.m. -- Christians in Middle Eastern and Muslim nations have endured their share of persecution. Abdullah said his country has been a "historic model" for Muslim-Christian relations. He said Jordan will continue to do its "utmost to protect" Arab Christian communities and people.
1:08 p.m. -- Abdullah started his speech on the subject of neighboring Syria: "The Syrian crisis is a global, humanitarian and security disaster." Syrians have fled to Jordan for safety during the civil war.
1:02 p.m. -- Hollande finished his speech. Next up is Jordan's King Abdullah II.
12:57 p.m. -- Backing up a little bit: While Hollande was talking about Syria minutes ago, he called on the U.N. Security Council to take up a resolution that would hold accountable those who carried out a chemical weapons attack on August 21 on the outskirts of Damascus. A resolution backing up a Russia-U.S. agreement on getting rid of chemical weapons in Syria has been in the works, but it's been unclear whether the resolution would call for perpetrators to be held accountable.
12:56 p.m. -- The "international community," Hollande said, "must assist African states to protect themselves."
12:54 p.m. -- Hollande made reference to Africa and noted the "barbaric attack" in Nairobi as an example of terrorism. He said victories are indeed possible against terrorism, citing the French intervention in Mali.
12:54 p.m. -- One of the glimmers of hope in the Middle East, Hollande says, is found "in the statements of the new Iranian president, because this shows there has been development." He is referring to Hassan Rouhani's calls for greater international cooperation on tough issues, including Iran's nuclear program. The question to pose now, Hollande says, is whether words will be put into action, specifically on the nuclear issue.
12:51 p.m. -- Hollande said a Geneva peace conference on Syria must be devoted to establishing peace and a political transition with elections. All countries that accept this goal, he said, would be welcome at the negotiating table.
12:47 p.m. -- Hollande credits pressure from France and other nations, including the United States, for leading to the current negotiations "under way to ensure the verification and destruction of chemical weapons" in Syria.
12:45 p.m. -- French President Francois Hollande is now at the podium, and he's starting with Syria. "The honor of the United Nations is to act for peace, and in Syria, it is urgent," he said.
12:43 p.m. -- The family of former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati has a message for Iran's new president: Their American son is not a spy, has never been one, and he should be released immediately from prison in Iran.
12:36 p.m. -- Francois Hollande, France's president, is next up at the U.N. General Assembly speaker's podium. He follows the leaders of Chile, Bulgaria and Mozambique.
12:34 p.m. -- After he spoke at the U.N. General Assembly, President Obama declined to answer questions on whether he had asked the Iranian president for a meeting or whether they would meet and shake hands. "Thanks" was all he said.
12:30 p.m. -- Some people have called on the U.N. to ensure that perpetrators of chemical attacks in Syria are held accountable at the International Criminal Court -- and that could be a sticking point in forming any U.N. Security Council resolution backing an agreement for Syria to hand over its chemical weapons. Outside the United Nations, CNN's Isha Sesay asked NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Tuesday whether diplomats should abandon that point to ensure a resolution. Rasmussen, though he said perpetrators should be held responsible, declined to answer directly. "I think it's important to get a binding, strong, firm legal framework through (a) United Nations Security Council resolution, and of course we cannot negotiate details here."
12:27 p.m. -- CNN's Reza Sayah, on CNN TV from Tehran, said people in Iran are optimistic after President Obama's speech to the U.N. General Assembly. Citizens, he said, are "hopeful" that U.S.-Iran relations can improve. Obama said in his speech: "We are encouraged that President Rouhani received from the Iranian people a mandate to pursue a more moderate course."
12:10 p.m. -- Tweet from the United Nations, @UN: "What's one of the tougher #UNGA tasks this week? Seating assignments for world leaders at lunch. @Tumblr photo: j.mp/18nduZ6."
12:05 p.m. -- Tweet from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, @HassanRouhani: "President Rouhani is in a meeting with International Monetary Fund (#IMF ) Chief, Christine Lagarde #UNGA."
11:34 a.m. ET -- Nigeria has been a victim of terror by groups such as Boko Haram, and the nation's president, Goodluck Jonathan, warned the U.N. General Assembly about the "threat of terrorism" and the need to fight terror. He also referred to the attack by al Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab at a Kenyan mall as an example of such activity.
11:25 a.m. ET -- For the curious, the full list of today's 34 speakers can be found at http://gadebate.un.org/. New Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is among the speakers in the afternoon session.
11:19 a.m. ET -- Abdullah Gul has finished his address. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is next up.
11:12 a.m. ET -- Tweet from Ivan Watson, @IvanCNN: "Turkish President Abdullah Gul calls for "a political strategy led by P5 and the neighboring countries" to bring an end to Syrian civil war."
11:12 a.m. ET -- Speaking about the Palestinian issue, Gul said "the denial of the right of the Palestinians to have a state of their own has no justification on any moral, political, or legal grounds." "We therefore welcome and strongly support the talks initiated between the parties under the auspices of the United States. The success of future efforts mainly depends on the Israeli government's acceptance of the establishment of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state."
11:08 a.m. ET -- Tweets from Ivan Watson, @IvanCNN: "Turkish President Gul at UNGA: 'we must realize that inaction by the security council only emboldens aggressive regimes.' " ... "Turkish President Gul at UNGA: this conflict neither began with the use of chemical weapons, nor will it end w/an agreement to eliminate them."
Turkish President Gul at UNGA:"we must realize that inaction by the security council only emboldens aggressive regimes."
11:07 a.m. ET -- "I cannot emphasize this enough," Gul said: "Agreement on chemical weapons must not be allowed to substitute for a comprehensive political strategy to address the situation in Syria."
11:05 a.m. ET -- Gul addressed Syria's chemical weapons. "Turkey welcomes and firmly supports the U.S.-Russian agreement to eliminate Syria's arsenal of chemical weapons," but he stressed that the "agreement has to be translated into a tangible U.N. Security Council resolution." "Once Syria comes clean about this arsenal, once and for all, it will be a relief for the Syrian people and the region."
10:59 a.m. ET -- The issue of Syria is all-important to Turkey, and Turkish President Abdullah Gul is expected to address the Syrian civil war.
10:59 a.m. ET -- Next up: Turkish President Abdullah Gul.
10:58 a.m. ET -- And that's it from Obama. Just a few highlights here: He said he was ready to use "all elements of U.S. power," including military force, to protect U.S. interests in the Middle East. He's encouraged that Iranian "President Rouhani received from the Iranian people a mandate to pursue a more moderate course," and he's directing his secretary of state to pursue a nuclear agreement with Iran. And he said that U.S. disengagement from the Middle East would create a vacuum of leadership.
10:49-10:51 a.m. ET -- Tweets from @jimsciuttoCNN: "Biggest news of Obama #UNGA speech: his directing @JohnKerry to pursue nuclear deal with #iran . Huge investment of capital" ... "Obama on #Iran : 'conciliatory words must be matched by actions that are transparent and verifiable' " ... "President Obama: US-Iranian "mistrust has deep roots" #UNGA" ... "@MeetIran @HassanRouhani @JZarif when is last time so many Iranian officials stayed for US president speech?"
10:48 a.m. ET -- Obama supported the action in Libya, where the U.N. Security Council "provided a mandate to protect civilians" and "America joined a coalition that took action." "Does anyone truly believe that the situation in Libya would be better if (former Libyan leader Moammar) Gadhafi had been allowed to kill, imprison or brutalize his people into submission? It is far more likely that without international action, Libya would now be engulfed in civil war and bloodshed."
10:48 a.m. ET -- Tweet from @eliselabottcnn: "Obama: US may have limited influence, be accused of hypocracy (ie #bahrain , #syria ), but US will be engaged in #mideast for long haul #unga."
10:48 a.m. ET -- Tweet from @eliselabottcnn: "Obama: on #egypt ; shows US will work with govt it doesn't agree with if it helps US security interests but won't give up principles. #unga."