WASHINGTON – The annual meeting of world leaders at the United Nations will be virtual this year for the first time in its 75-year history due to the COVID-19 pandemic, except for the likely in-person presence of President Donald Trump.
“We are hopeful that President Trump will actually speak in person in the General Assembly,” said Kelly Craft, the United States ambassador to the UN, on Thursday, noting that she will be “the only” leader to give a speech on the premises of the Assembly.
In previous years, thousands of people have traveled to New York for the annual meeting of world leaders at the General Assembly, known as the General Debate.
During the week-long meeting, presidents, prime ministers, monarchs and foreign ministers of the 193 nations that make up the UN deliver a formal speech, but much of the action occurs at the hundreds of side events and private meetings, lunches and dinners.
Due to the coronavirus, members of the General Assembly agreed this month that the ruler of each country send a prerecorded speech that will be broadcast on the assembly site, in which only a small number of diplomats residing in New York will attend the that they will be allowed to enter.
Only some parallel events will be authorized.
Randy Serrano has the information.
The speeches will begin as scheduled on September 22, but will be preceded by an event on September 21 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. The theme: “The future we want: the UN. What we need: Reaffirm our collective commitment to multilateralism. “
At that event, members of the assembly will formally adopt a declaration to mark the 75th anniversary, which was agreed by diplomats in early July.
It recounts the successes and failures of the world body, and is committed to building a post-pandemic world that is more equal, works together and protects the planet.
Craft said this year’s meeting is “even more special” because of the anniversary, noting that it is important that all member countries publicize the event.
Regarding the United States, he said, “we are going to be focused on issues of human rights, transparency and accountability.”