Opening day at the UN General Assembly always brings the good feelings of new beginnings.
New General Assembly Chairman Vuk Jeremic of Serbia made some of the same promises as his predecessor -- but seemed earnest in his intentions -- making peaceful conflict resolution the subject of the upcoming General Debate.
Jeremic took a pass -- however -- on the opportunity to speak out on Islamaphobia -- or the recent rioting sparked by an anti-Islamic film.
Attacks on US consulates in Libya -- Cairo -- and Yemen have claimed several lives -- including that of the US ambassador to Libya.
One Islamic scholar and cleric has in fact called for a UN resolution criminalizing attacks on Islam and Islamic symbols.
Now Ban Ki-moon -- the Secretary-General of the UN -- didn't let any of this get too far before speaking out -- trying to put a stop to the violence and send a message to inflammatory filmmakers with two separate statements over the past week.
In one -- Ban says that the UN "rejects defamation of religion in all forms," -- adding -- however -- that nothing justified the brutality seen in Benghazi -- the Libyan town where the US Ambassador was killed.
In another statement -- Ban blasted the inflammatory film -- saying that he "condemns the hateful film that appears to have been deliberately designed to sow bigotry and bloodshed."
At the UN on Friday -- Ban seemed to want to kick off the General Assembly on a wider note -- calling for universal racial and religious tolerance. He backed Jeremic's goal of peaceful resolutions -- and said that the world today lacks simple mutual respect.
Ban also spoke about the international community continuing to work hard at achieving the Millennium Development Goals -- which will still be unreachable by their goal date of 2015. Five member states -- including Somalia and the Central African Republic -- were said to be in arrears on their UN dues -- which means they won't be able to vote in the General Assembly until they're all paid up.