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The UN General Assembly begins in a world plagued by crises

The war in Ukraine, climate disasters, food insecurity… In a world besieged by crises, the leaders of the planet follow one another on the rostrum of the UN General Assembly, tested by deep divisions.

For almost a week, approximately 150 heads of state and government from around the world will speak at this annual diplomatic high mass, which will resume in person after two years interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Traditionally, this first day gives pride of place to the speech of the US president, who, as the leader of the country where the UN headquarters is located, speaks first. But exceptionally – as on very rare occasions in the past – this will not be the case: Joe Biden, who was at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, postponed his intervention until Wednesday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will be there to deliver the opening address of this 77th General Assembly, which “will not calm things down,” his spokesman Stéphane Dujarric promised, referring to the “imagined, real and solutions-oriented” tableau of a world “where geopolitical divisions threaten us all “.

“We meet at a time of great danger for the world,” Antonio Guterres said on Monday, listing “conflicts and climate disasters”, “distrust and division”, “poverty, inequality and discrimination”.

A nuisance

On the danger side, the Russian invasion of Ukraine will be at the heart of this high-level diplomatic week, with the intervention of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday – via video thanks to a special mandate voted by member states last week – and the Security Council at the level of foreign ministers on Thursday.

Read also: Russian ammonia, another part in the war in Ukraine

However, the South is increasingly bothered by the fact that people from the West are focusing their attention on Ukraine. “We don’t just want to talk about ending the conflict in Ukraine. We want conflicts to end in Tigray, we want conflicts to end in Syria, we want conflicts to end anywhere in the world,” Barbados Prime Minister Mia said on Monday. Mottley during the opening day focused on education and development of the Goals.

Iranian nuclear

In an attempt to respond to the concerns of some countries, the Americans and Europeans are organizing a high-level meeting on Tuesday on food security, which is a consequence of this war, which the whole planet is suffering.

This tension caused by the war in Ukraine is a reflection of the resentment of the North and the South in the fight against climate change. Poor countries on the front lines of the devastating effects of global warming, for which they are not responsible, are particularly fighting for rich countries to finally honor their promises of financial aid.

Read also: [En continu] Antonio Guterres points to humanity’s “addiction” to fossil fuels

Two months before the UN climate conference COP27 in Egypt, it would be surprising if this climate crisis was not at the forefront of the speech of Antonio Guterres, who fought for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, especially of fossil fuel producers, which is one of his priorities. .

Ignazio Cassis in New York

Confederation President Ignazio Cassis will represent Switzerland during the 77th General Debate, which marks the opening of the General Assembly. He is expected to deliver his speech early Tuesday afternoon.

Brazilian Presidents Jair Bolsonaro and Turkish Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz must also succeed on stage. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is also in New York this week for his first General Assembly, and the nuclear issue could once again become a focus of discussion.

Read also: Iran’s nuclear program: Tehran sees European declaration as ‘unconstructive’, doubts its commitment

Although negotiations to save the 2015 Iran nuclear deal are officially underway in Vienna, the French foreign minister, for example, has not ruled out a meeting between Presidents Macron and Raïssi. However, this high-profile week has several notable absences, notably Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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