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UN General Assembly opens amid multiple crises

The leaders of the planet follow one another from September 20 at the podium of the UN General Assembly, in a context of strong international tensions. For nearly a week, some 150 heads of state and government from around the world will speak during this annual diplomatic high mass which resumes in “face-to-face” after two years disrupted by the Covid-19.

Traditionally, this first day gives pride of place to the speech of the American president who, as leader of the country hosting the United Nations headquarters, speaks in the first. But exceptionally, US President Joe Biden, who attended the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, postponed his speech to September 21.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is expected to deliver an opening speech at this 77th General Assembly which “will not water things down,” promised his spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric. “We are meeting at a time of great peril for the world,” said Antonio Guterres on September 19, citing in particular “conflicts and climatic disasters”, as well as the “mistrust” and “division” that reign in international relations. .

The countries of the South want to address other subjects than Ukraine

The Ukrainian conflict should be at the heart of this diplomatic week, with an intervention by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on September 21 (on video), followed by a meeting of the Security Council on September 22. The countries of the South are increasingly irritated by the fact that Westerners are focusing their attention on Ukraine, while other conflicts are shaking the planet. “We don’t just want to talk about ending the conflict in Ukraine. We want the conflicts to end in Tigray, we want the conflicts to end in Syria, we want the conflicts to end wherever they point their noses in the world”, thus hammered on September 19 the Prime Minister of the Barbados Mia Mottley during a preliminary day focusing on education and development goals. Among the major concerns of the period, food safety will be the subject of a specific meeting.

French President Emmanuel Macron should insist on the need to prevent “fracturing” between countries of the North and the South, said the Elysée. The Brazilian Presidents Jair Bolsonaro and Turkish Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz must also succeed each other on the podium. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is also in New York this week for his first General Assembly and the nuclear issue could once again be at the center of discussions. Furthermore, Colonel Abdoulaye Maïga will represent Mali at the UN, while a meeting of the member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will be held, also in New York, including the Mali is suspended.

On the other hand, this high-level week has a few notable absentees, in particular the Russian and Chinese presidents. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping met at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit held in Uzbekistan on September 15-16, and again championed the prospect of a multipolar world . “Attempts to create a unipolar world have recently taken totally hideous and absolutely unacceptable forms for the overwhelming majority of countries in the world,” said the Russian head of state on this occasion.

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