UN General Assembly | Updates
At the United Nations and on the sidelines, pressing topics will reflect the myriad global crises at hand: climate change, rampant inequality, Russia's war in Ukraine, public health and geopolitical instability, among others.
WHO WAS SITTING IN RUSSIA'S SEAT DURING ZELENSKYY'S SPEECH? That would be Dmitry Polyansky, Russia's deputy UN ambassador.
"Did he speak?" Polyansky told a reporter who ran into him shortly after Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy finished speaking and asked him for comment.
"I didn't notice he was speaking. I was on my phone," Polyansky said.
WHERE ARE THE WOMEN OF THE WORLD?' ASKS SOUTH AFRICA'S PRESIDENT If it's important to be in the room where it happens, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa made a note of who wasn't there.
Ramaphosa was the 14th man to take the rostrum Tuesday, the first day of the General Debate. Taking note of the number of men in the General Assembly Hall, he asked: "Where are the women of the world?" In his speech, he stressed the need to empower women and have them participate equally in decision-making. Fifty percent of cabinet members in South Africa are women, and Ramaphosa said he was accompanied by an all-female delegation to the United Nations.
JORDAN'S KING SAYS ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT STILL MIDDLE EAST'S CENTRAL' ISSUE Jordan's King Abdullah II called on the international community to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which he said remains "the central issue in the Middle East." "No architecture for regional security and development can stand over the burning ashes of this conflict," he said in his address to the UN General Assembly. "Seven and a half decades on, it still smolders." The last serious peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down more than a decade ago. Recent diplomatic initiatives like the Trump-era Abraham Accords have focused on forging regional ties between Israel and Arab countries.
The Biden administration hopes to build on those accords by brokering a normalisation agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia. But the Saudis have said such a deal would have to include major progress toward the creation of a Palestinian state, something Israel's right-wing government staunchly opposes.
Jordan, a close Western ally, made peace with Israel in 1994 but strongly supports the Palestinian cause.
TURKEY'S PRESIDENT ADDRESSES RENEWED FIGHTING IN NAGORNO-KARABAKH Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Tuesday for a swift end to renewed fighting in a war-torn Nagorno-Karabakh region, but strongly sided with Turkey's ally Azerbaijan in defending its sovereign rights in the South Caucasus area.
Azerbaijan launched military strikes in recent days after weeks of escalating tension in the region populated by ethnic Armenians - triggering international concern of a possible new conflict.
Erdogan said there was "a historic opportunity awaiting all of us" to secure peace in the southern Caucasus region.
"In order to make use of this opportunity we attach importance to the normalisation of our relations with Armenia," Erdogan said. "From the outset we always supported diplomacy between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Unfortunately, we see that Armenia cannot make use of this historic opportunity." He reiterated that Nagorno-Karabakh is Azerbaijani territory "so no other status can be dictated." Despite initiatives in recent years to normalize ties, relations between Turkey and Armenia are scarred by decades of mistrust and hostility over the mass killings of Armenians more than a century ago. An estimated 1.5 million people were killed in the events that are widely viewed by scholars at the first genocide of the 20th century. Turkey denies the deaths constituted genocide, saying the toll has been inflated and that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.
COLOMBIA'S PRESIDENT WARNS OF THE CRISIS OF LIFE' Colombia's President Gustavo Petro delivered an ominous prophecy with grandiose language, painting a grim picture of what lies ahead if nations fail to swiftly redesign life on this planet.
"It has been a year in which humanity lost and without hesitation has advanced the times of extinction," he began. "It would seem as though the global leadership has made enemies with Life." Eloquent oratory is a skill Petro often deploys, and lately has done so to project himself as a global leader on climate change - and to reproach others for failing to fully heed its peril.
At the UN, he said that what he called "the crisis of Life" has already begun, as signaled by migration of climate refugees, and warned that in the coming half-century, their numbers will reach 3 billion. His country, today covered by lush forests, will transform to desert, he said, and its people will decamp en masse, "no longer attracted by the sequins of the wealth, but by something simpler and more vital: water." His speech at times resembled literary prose, particularly his characterisation of the ongoing migration flow. In the Spanish-language transcript submitted, "Life" is indeed capitalized.
BIDEN WANTS UN TO INTERVENE IN HAITI VIOLENCE US President Joe Biden asked the UN Security Council to immediately authorise the Kenya-led multinational force to help fight gangs and restore peace in Haiti.
Biden in his speech at the General Assembly thanked Kenyan President William Ruto for his "willingness to serve as lead nation of UN security support mission" in the Caribbean nation where growing gang violence has killed many. Kenya's decision to lead that mission has been criticized by Ruto's opponents and Haitians have been sceptical about that mission.
"I call on the Security Council to authorise this mission now," Biden said. "The people of Haiti cannot wait much longer."
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