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In world beset by turbulence, nations’ leaders collect at UN

UNITED NATIONS — Dealing with a fancy set of challenges that strive humanity as by no means earlier than, world leaders convene on the United Nations this week below the shadow of Europe’s first main warfare since World Warfare II — a battle that has unleashed a worldwide meals disaster and divided main powers in a means not seen for the reason that Chilly Warfare.

The various aspects of the Ukraine warfare are anticipated to dominate the annual assembly, which convenes as many international locations and peoples confront rising inequality, an escalating local weather disaster, the specter of a number of famines and an internet-fueled tide of misinformation and hate speech — all atop a coronavirus pandemic that’s midway by its third yr.

For the primary time for the reason that United Nations was based atop the ashes of World Warfare II, European nations are witnessing warfare of their midst waged by nuclear-armed neighboring Russia. Its Feb. 24 invasion not solely threatens Ukraine’s survival as an impartial democratic nation however has leaders in lots of international locations worrying about attempting to protect regional and worldwide peace and forestall a wider warfare.

U.N. Secretary-Common Antonio Guterres mentioned the strategic divides — with the West on one aspect and Russia and more and more China on the opposite — are “paralyzing the worldwide response to the dramatic challenges we face.”

He pointed not solely to the devastation in Ukraine from practically seven months of preventing however the warfare’s influence on the worldwide economic system.

Escalating meals and vitality costs are hitting the world’s poorest folks hardest, and nations are “being devoured by the acids of nationalism and self-interest” as a substitute of working collectively and resolving disputes peacefully, two rules that lie on the coronary heart of the U.N. Constitution and underpin all the pieces the United Nations tries to do.

“The Common Meeting is assembly at a time of nice peril,” the U.N. chief mentioned final week.

For the primary time in three years, leaders shall be delivering their speeches in individual within the huge Common Meeting corridor. There shall be no extra COVID-caused prerecorded addresses or hybrid conferences, with one exception: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Over objections from Russia and some allies, the 193-member meeting voted overwhelmingly Friday to permit the Ukrainian chief to pre-record his speech due to causes past his management — the “ongoing overseas invasion” and army hostilities that require him to hold out his “nationwide protection and safety duties.”

The loss of life of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and her funeral in London on Monday, which many world leaders plan to attend, have created last-minute complications for the high-level assembly. Diplomats and U.N. workers are scrambling to take care of adjustments in journey plans, the timing of some occasions and the logistically intricate talking schedule for world leaders.

Guterres is skipping the funeral to preside over Monday’s “Reworking Schooling Summit” that he referred to as to create motion on a U.N. objective to make sure high quality schooling for all kids by 2030 that misplaced vital floor in the course of the pandemic.

The precise gathering of world leaders, generally known as the Common Debate, begins Tuesday morning with the U.N. chief’s state of the world speech to the 77th session of the Common Meeting which started on Sept. 12. Brazil has spoken first for over seven a long time as a result of on the early Common Meeting periods it volunteered to talk first when no different nation did.

The U.S, president, representing the host nation for the United Nations, is historically the second speaker. However President Joe Biden is attending the queen’s funeral, and his speech has been delayed till Wednesday morning. Senegalese President Macky Sall is anticipated to take Biden’s slot.

Practically 150 presidents, prime ministers and monarchs are on the newest audio system record, a really excessive quantity reflecting the significance of the assembly not just for presenting each nation’s view of the world however for personal one-on-one and group conferences the place diplomats say quite a lot of the world’s enterprise is carried out.

Along with Zelenskyy, Biden and Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, different heads of state coming to the U.N. embody the presidents of Turkey, Iran, France, Colombia, South Korea, South Africa, Egypt and Venezuela. Heads of presidency on the record embody Britain’s new Prime Minister Liz Truss, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz additionally making a primary look, and the prime ministers of Japan, Israel, Iraq and Pakistan. Russia and China are sending their overseas ministers.

For a few years, overseas ministers of the 5 veto-wielding everlasting members of the U.N. Safety Council — the US, Russia, China, Britain and France — have met on the sidelines for lunch or dinner. Diplomats mentioned no assembly is deliberate this yr.

Throughout typical high-level weeks, hundreds of persons are within the U.N. advanced for speeches and lots of of aspect occasions. However due to the persevering with pandemic, this yr solely the few occasions organized by the secretary-general and the Common Meeting president are being held at U.N. headquarters. Dozens of aspect occasions will happen elsewhere within the metropolis.

Richard Gowan, U.N. director of the Worldwide Disaster Group, mentioned Ukraine and the meals disaster would be the two “overarching themes” and the message from Western leaders goes to be clear: “That is Russia’s warfare of aggression and this can be a large assault on the U.N. system.”

A spotlight would be the U.N. Safety Council ministerial assembly on Sept. 22 specializing in the battle in opposition to impunity within the warfare in Ukraine — a subject determined by France which holds the council presidency this month. The assembly might put overseas ministers of the 5 everlasting council nations in the identical room with Ukraine’s overseas minister, Dmytro Kuleba, who has been invited.

France’s U.N. ambassador, Nicolas De Riviere, mentioned Friday that “perpetrators shall be held accountable” for the “dramatic penalties” that “the Russian warfare of aggression” has had on civilians in Ukraine. And U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield mentioned the United Nations faces “a disaster of confidence” caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that violated its neighbor’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, “trampled on human rights” and struck on the coronary heart of the U.N. Constitution by pursuing warfare as a substitute of a negotiated peace.

She informed reporters Friday that the response have to be to “double down on our dedication to a peaceable world and maintain even nearer our deeply-held rules of sovereignty, territorial integrity, peace and safety.”

Thomas-Greenfield insisted the high-level assembly “won’t be dominated by Ukraine” as a result of there are conflicts happening elsewhere as properly. That’s why she says the US is specializing in tackling the meals disaster in addition to local weather change, advancing world well being and upholding the U.N. Constitution.

The Disaster Group’s Gowan mentioned his group has seen in current weeks that African and Latin American international locations “have progressively succumbed to Ukraine fatigue,” and there’s a feeling in lots of components of the U.N. “that international locations don’t need to should continuously assault Russia.” There’s a clear understanding amongst Western leaders, and particularly within the U.S., of the necessity “to maintain non-Western international locations on board over Ukraine,” he mentioned.

Gowan mentioned he will even be listening for “an undercurrent of discontent” from African nations and international locations from the worldwide South about how they’ve been let down on COVID-19 vaccinations and financing to deal with local weather change and take care of escalating meals costs and the price of dwelling. He additionally lamented that crises in Mali, Afghanistan and Yemen received’t be on the entrance burner.

Secretary-Common Guterres, who simply visited Pakistan the place he mentioned the flooded space is thrice the scale of his house nation Portugal, lashed out on the Group of 20 richest nations, which he mentioned are answerable for 80% of emissions that trigger world warming.

“My message to world leaders gathering right here is evident: Decrease the temperature — now,” he mentioned. “Don’t flood the world immediately; don’t drown it tomorrow.”

Edith M. Lederer is chief U.N. correspondent for The Related Press and has been protecting worldwide affairs for greater than half a century. For extra AP protection of the U.N. Common Meeting, go to

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