U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the United Nations General Assembly, laying out his case for tackling ''the cancer of violent extremism.'' Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. President Barack Obama vowed at the United Nations on Wednesday to keep up the military pressure on Islamic State militants and urged those who have joined the extremist group in Iraq and Syria to "leave the battlefield while they can." Speaking at the U.N. General Assembly, Obama said Islamic State must be destroyed and issued a global call for nations to come together to join a U.S.-led coalition. Before he spoke, U.S.-led airstrikes for the third time this week pounded Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq. "As we look to the future, one issue risks a cycle of conflict that could derail such progress: and that is the cancer of violent extremism that has ravaged so many parts of the Muslim world," he said in his speech, which ran to just under 40 minutes. He added that the United States does not intend to occupy any countries, but "will be a respectful and constructive partner." Obama used his annual address to the 193-nation General Assembly to send messages to Russia to back down from its aggression against Ukraine, for Iran to "not let this opportunity pass" to forge a nuclear deal and, indirectly, for China to ease its pressure on its Asia-Pacific neighbors. But his over-arching message was that Islamic State, a group whose rapid rise and seizure of broad swaths of Syria and Iran has stunned the Middle East, was of concern to the West and had prompted five Arab states to join the United States in military strikes. "We will neither tolerate terrorist safe-havens, nor act as an occupying power. Instead, we will take action against threats to our security - and our allies - while building an architecture of counter-terrorism cooperation," Obama said.