The plenary session of the UN General Assembly opened on Tuesday September 19, with strong speeches from member states, in a context of multiple global crises. In the midst of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is expected to make his first appearance in person at the podium, shortly after the speech by his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. But attention is also focused on Nagorno-Karabakh, on which Azerbaijan has launched a new offensive.
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will take the podium at the UN this Tuesday for the first time since the Russian invasion, facing an international community fragmented and shaken by serial crises, in particular the war in Ukraine. A year ago, he was exceptionally authorized to intervene via a video message.
This time, he will be there in person, for the high-level session of the annual United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday and a special meeting of the Security Council on Wednesday, before leaving for Washington where he will be received at the White House on Thursday.
The Ukrainian must notably meet his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Wednesday, after a missed meeting in May during the G7 summit, according to the Brazilian presidency. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Brazil, which notably created the Brics group with Russia, has refused to supply weapons to Kiev or to impose sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s Russia. The Brazilian president sparked controversy by repeatedly asserting that responsibility for the conflict was shared, even as he condemned the Russian invasion.
Lula once again calls for “ dialogue » between kyiv and Moscow
During his speech Tuesday to the UN General Assembly, the Brazilian president called for “ dialogue » in the context of the conflict, asserting that “ work must be done to create space for negotiations » between the parties. Lula deplored that “ much has been invested in weapons and very little in development “.
The war in Ukraine reveals our collective inability to uphold the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter. We do not underestimate the difficulties encountered in achieving peace, but no solution will be lasting if it is not based on dialogue. I reiterated that we needed to work to create space for negotiation. (…) Stability and security will not be ensured where social exclusion and inequalities reign. The UN was born to be the place for understanding dialogue. The international community must choose between the expansion of conflicts, the worsening of inequalities and the erosion of the rule of law. On the other, the renewal of multilateral institutions dedicated to the promotion of peace.
At the UN, Lula calls for “dialogue” between kyiv and Moscow
In turn, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged “ intensify ” his ” efforts » diplomatic for « end the war » in Ukraine invaded by Russia. “ Since the start of the Russo-Ukrainian war, we have strived to keep our Russian and Ukrainian friends around the table, with the idea that war will have no winners and peace no losers. “, he affirmed from the podium.
Biden calls for mission to Haiti and more efforts against climate change
Speaking shortly after his Brazilian counterpart, US President Joe Biden also delivered a charged speech, talking about several crises. He called on the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday to “ allow now » sending an international force to Haiti to help the police fight against gangs, because “ the people of Haiti cannot wait any longer “.
Violence by gangs who control most of the capital of this poor Caribbean country and spread a reign of terror has left more than 2,400 dead since the start of the year, according to the UN. For almost a year, Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres have been calling for an international force to be sent to help the police overwhelmed by this violence.
The country’s CO2 emissions-leading president has warned that the climate crisis is ” an existential threat (…) for all humanity “. Citing the heat waves, fires, floods and drought that have hit various parts of the globe in recent months, “ Taken together, these events tell the story of what lies ahead if we fail to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and adapt our world to climate change. “.
“Seek to manage the rivalry” between Washington and Beijing
On this subject, in particular, Joe Biden also assured that he was “ ready to work with China “. He also insisted that he “ sought to manage the rivalry » with China « responsibly so that it does not degenerate into conflict “.
High-level contacts between the two great powers have increased in recent times. The day before the opening of the Assembly, the head of American diplomacy Antony Blinken met in New York with Chinese Vice President Han Zheng, arguing for the need for management “ responsible » of the tense relationship with Beijing. “ I think it is a good thing to increase the number of high-level meetings » between the United States and China, he declared at the start of his meeting with the Chinese official, this for “ ensuring we keep the lines of communication open “, he said.
For his part, the Chinese vice-president noted that the world’s two leading economic powers were facing ” to many difficulties and challenges “.
Conflicts over Nagorno-Karabakh erupt on opening day of Assembly
Irony of the calendar or not, the opening of the UN General Assembly was also marked by the resumption of fighting on Tuesday morning between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh regionwhich has already been at the heart of several open conflicts between the two countries.
On this subject, France condemned on Tuesday “ with the greatest firmness » Azerbaijan’s launch of the military operation and requested ” the emergency convening of a meeting of the United Nations Security Council “. This operation is “ illegal, unjustifiable, unacceptable », Reacted Tuesday the French Minister of Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna, to a few journalists on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
“ I would like to emphasize that we hold Azerbaijan responsible for the fate of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh “, she said, adding that France was in contact with its European and American partners as well as with Armenia and Azerbaijan. Earlier, she had asked “ the emergency convening of a meeting of the United Nations Security Council “, ” given the seriousness of the responsibility that Azerbaijan has just taken “.
Cuba wants to be “ the voice of the South » and calls for a “ new, fairer global contract »
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who wants to be “ the voice of the South », pleaded Tuesday at the UN for a “ new global contract », denouncing the growing gap between rich countries and developing countries. “ A new, fairer global contract is imperative “, he said, calling for a better distribution of wealth, the restructuring of the debt of developing countries and to confront climate change.