The United Nations General Assembly opens Tuesday in New York in an unusually quiet hall as the annual global diplomatic meet goes online amid the Covid-19 pandemic. World leaders have been invited to provide pre-recorded messages for the gathering, where delegations will be represented in person by a lone diplomat.
US President Donald Trump told reporters that he would be delivering a “strong message” to China in his speech at the virtual summit.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is also slated to address the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, as are Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Iran’s Hassan Rouhani and France’s Emmanuel Macron.
To watch FRANCE 24’s live coverage of the event, click on the video player above.
- Guterres warns against ‘new Cold War’
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the world is facing an “epochal” health crisis, the biggest economic calamity since the Great Depression and worries of a new Cold War between the US and China.
In his grim state of the world speech, the UN chief called for global unity, first and foremost to fight the coronavirus pandemic, and sharply criticised populism and nationalism for failing to contain the virus, and for often making things worse.
Guterres: ‘Covid-19 has layed bare the world’s fragilities’
Guterres called for a global cease-fire on March 23 to tackle the pandemic, and he appealed for a 100-day push by the international community, led by the Security Council, “to make this a reality by the end of the year”.
“There is only one winner of conflict during a pandemic: the virus itself,” he stressed, reiterating a warning he made to world leaders a year ago about increasing US-China rivalry.
“Our world cannot afford a future where the two largest economies split the globe in a Great Fracture — each with its own trade and financial rules and internet and artificial intelligence capacities,” Guterres said. “We must do everything to avoid a new Cold War.”
- Trump: ‘UN must hold China accountable’
US President Donald Trump told the UN General Assembly that China must be held accountable by the world for its actions over the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a recorded message, Trump accused Beijing of allowing the coronavirus to “leave China and infect the world.”
Trump: ‘We must hold accountable the nation that unleashed this plague’
“The United Nations must hold China accountable for their actions,” he said.
Shortly after Trump’s video address, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Beijing has “no intention to fight either a cold war or a hot one with any country”.
China’s Xi warns against ‘politicising’ coronavirus fight
“We will continue to narrow differences and resolve disputes with others through dialogue and negotiation,” Xi said in his pre-recorded statement. “We will not seek to develop only ourselves or engage in zero sum game.”
- Bolsonaro defends handling of world’s second deadliest Covid-19 outbreak
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro rejected international criticism of his government’s environmental policies in his pre-recorded speech, claiming his government was the victim of a “brutal campaign of misinformation”.
Environmental advocates blame Bolsonaro for emboldening illegal ranchers and land speculators who set fire to land to increase its value for agricultural use.
The Brazilian president, who has repeatedly downplayed the danger from Covid-19, also defended his handling of the world’s second deadliest outbreak, lamenting the deaths that have passed 137,200.
- Turkey’s Erdogan calls for diplomacy on Iran
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called for dialogue and diplomacy to resolve issues related to Iran’s nuclear programme, urging all parties to abide by a 2015 international agreement later abandoned by the US.
“We support solving issues regarding Iran’s nuclear programme by taking international law into consideration and through dialogue and diplomacy,” Erdogan told the UN General Assembly.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s speech at UN General Assembly
“I repeat our call for all parties to abide by their responsibilities under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which provides serious contributions to regional and global security,” he said.
The United States on Monday announced new sanctions against Iran’s defence ministry and others involved in its nuclear and weapons programme.