Europe

World leaders at UN must tackle Syria, extremism, refugees

  • Andrzej Duda, President of Poland, left, poses for a photo with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016, at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

    Andrzej Duda, President of Poland, left, poses for a photo with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016, at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)  (The Associated Press)

  • Hamad Elgizouli, Sudan's commissioner of refugees, speaks during the Summit for Refugees and Migrants at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

    Hamad Elgizouli, Sudan's commissioner of refugees, speaks during the Summit for Refugees and Migrants at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)  (The Associated Press)

  • Rodolfo Nin Novoa, foreign minister of Uruguay, speaks during the Summit for Refugees and Migrants at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

    Rodolfo Nin Novoa, foreign minister of Uruguay, speaks during the Summit for Refugees and Migrants at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)  (The Associated Press)

World leaders gather at the United Nations for their annual meeting Tuesday with an array of global crises that desperately need solutions, topped by the Syrian conflict, escalating attacks around the world by Islamic extremists, and millions of people fleeing fighting and poverty.

Whether the 135 heads of state and government and more than 50 ministers are able to make any progress before the high-level meeting of the General Assembly ends on Sept. 26 remains to be seen. While hopes are high, expectations are low.

The leaders are meeting against a backdrop of rising ethnic and religious tension, fighting elsewhere in the Mideast and Africa, a warming planet, and unfulfilled goals to give every child in the world a primary school education and to achieve equality for women.