As the host of the United Nations, the U.S. is supposed to let everyone come to the annual U.N. General Assembly, not just the people it likes.
But this year, the proposition is being put to the test. Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, was indicted three years ago by the International Criminal Court on genocide charges stemming from the mass killings in Sudan's western Darfur region.
Bashir has also applied for a visa to the U.N. meetings next week.
Secretary of State John Kerry says that tests have shown evidence of Syria's use of the chemical agent sarin in an attack on the opposition last month that the White House has blamed on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
"I can share with you today that blood and hair samples that have come to us through an appropriate chain of custody from East Damascus, from first responders, it has tested positive for signatures of sarin," Kerry told CNN on Sunday.
President Obama's comments about the crisis in Egypt; Aug. 15, 2013
"The United States strongly condemns the steps that have been taken by Egypt's interim government" that have led to civilians "being killed in the streets," President Obama said Thursday from Martha's Vineyard, Mass., where he is vacationing with his family.
He called on Egypt's interim government to lift the state of emergency it has declared and said the U.S. has canceled joint military exercises with Egypt that had been scheduled for September.
"Our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual while civilians are being killed in the streets," Obama said.
Officials also ordered nonessential government personnel to leave the U.S. Consulate in Lahore.
The statement issued Thursday says the drawdown was due to "specific threats" concerning the consulate, which was scheduled to be closed for the Eid holiday from Thursday through Sunday. No reopening had been scheduled, a U.S. official told The Associated Press.