What to Watch For on Final Day of U.N. General Assembly
Speakers include representatives from Syria, North Korea and Cuba
Dana Ford CNN
October 01, 2012(CNN) -- Monday marks the final day of debate at the 67th session of the U.N. General Assembly. Some of the most-controversial speakers have been saved for last.
Here are a few things to watch for:
1. The foreign minister of Syria, a nation that has dominated U.N. discussion this year, will finally speak.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem took to the lectern to defend his country's handling of the 18-month crisis that has spiraled into a civil war. He will face a mostly hostile audience.
In some of his initial comments, he said that "some well-known countries" are pursuing "new colonial policies" under the guise of humanitarian efforts in Syria.
World leaders spent last week widely condemning the crisis in Syria, which has left at least 26,000 dead, according to the opposition.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the session with a call for Security Council action.
Council members Russia and China repeatedly have blocked draft resolutions that would take strong action against embattled President Bashar al-Assad.
The Syrian government blames the violence on armed terrorists.
2. The head of the North Korean delegation will address member nations amid ever-present pressure on his country's nuclear program.
North Korea has been virtually isolated from the world by international sanctions over its development of a nuclear program.
Vice Foreign Minister Pak Kil-yon could address those ambitions during his speech at the first U.N. General Assembly debate since the death of leader Kim Jong Il.
In April, North Korea launched a rocket, which failed less than two minutes into the flight. It said the launch was to put a satellite into orbit, but much of the international community saw it as a cover-up for testing ballistic missile technology.
The move destroyed a deal reached in February under which Pyongyang agreed to suspend its nuclear activities in exchange for food aid shipments from the United States.
The rocket launch was timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, the founder and longtime leader of North Korea. It also came a few months after the December death of Kim Il Sung's son, Kim Jong Il.
Kim Jong Il's son and chosen successor, Kim Jong Un, has taken over as "supreme leader," though the level of his influence on policy decisions remains unclear.
3. The Cuban foreign minister discusses the U.S. embargo against his island nation.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez again railed against his country's northern neighbor, condemning the U.S. embargo, which was put in place in 1960.
"Promises were not fulfilled," he said, referring to President Barack Obama's initial pledge to lower some of the barriers in Cuban-American relations.
In 2009, the U.S. Treasury Department lifted some restrictions on the ability of Cuban Americans to visit relatives in Cuba and send them money, but the U.S. has kept key components of the embargo in place.
The continued imprisonment of U.S. contractor Alan Gross, who was jailed in 2009 on suspicion of espionage, is thought to have contributed to frozen relations that exist between the two nations.
4. World leaders get a last chance to make a splash on the global stage.
If there are going to be surprises, they're going to happen on the final day of debate.
Look for the unexpected as leaders wrap the annual session.