publish date 2021-09-18 17:07:52
Next week, the leaders of nearly a hundred countries will arrive in New York, despite fears related to the Covid-19 epidemic, to attend the annual General Assembly of the United Nations, whose president will issue a “cry of warning” about the “extremely dangerous situation” in the world.
“Trust must be restored,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told AFP. The geo-strategic division currently camped in the world constitutes an obstacle,” adding that the world is “in a very dangerous situation” and “a cry of warning must be raised to awaken political officials.”
Among the leaders who announced their attendance were US Presidents Joe Biden, Brazilian Jair Bolsonaro, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, German Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Venezuelan Nicolas Maduro, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Israeli Naftali Bennett.
French President Emmanuel Macron will be absent from the meeting, whose circles justified his reluctance to attend due to the imposed health restrictions. Unlike other leaders who will address the General Assembly via video link, Macron has delegated his Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to speak on behalf of France.
The United States, which hosts the meeting, fears that it will turn into a “causing event” for the epidemic, according to the US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas Greenfield, while Guterres made it clear that Washington “dissuaded heads of state and government of other countries from coming for reasons related to Covid.”
He added that since March 2020, “I feel proud” that the United Nations headquarters in New York “has never been the epicenter of the spread of Covid and I hope that will continue.”
Last year, this major diplomatic forum was held online, as participants refrained from traveling due to the quarantine imposed by the United States.
Diplomats considered that “it cannot be repeated”, but “we must prove that the United Nations exists.”
Strict measures were imposed such as wearing a mask, respecting the distance, the presence of a maximum of seven members from each delegation at the United Nations Headquarters, and four in the General Assembly amphitheater, and reducing bilateral meetings to the maximum.
And New York City warned that it would request a document proving that delegates had received the vaccine, considering that the United Nations headquarters is a conference center subject to the same rules imposed on other indoor places in New York.
This immediately infuriated some countries, with Russia denouncing the measure as “clearly discriminatory” and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro saying it would come even if he was not vaccinated.
A UN official, speaking on condition of anonymity, expressed concern, saying, “Everyone is afraid, it will create confusion.”
He added, “The big countries do not come to meet each other, it is the small countries that come to meet the big countries.”
A member of the government will represent Russia and China, and Richard Gowan of the International Crisis Group considered that the two countries want, through this level of representation, to show “Washington that the arrival of Joe Biden to power does not affect their positions.”
He believed that the US president would seek to emphasize “the need to protect a global system led by the United States from Chinese competition,” calling on his allies “not to consider China as an alternative leader in the multilateral system.”
Since January, US allies and especially Europeans have been surprised on several occasions by the lack of a noticeable shift in their favor after former President Donald Trump’s aggressive and isolationist approach.
After the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, most of the talks will focus on women’s rights issues and avoiding the country from immersing itself in an economic and humanitarian crisis.
Speculation continues about who will represent Afghanistan, as well as Burma, which is led by a military council not recognized by the international community, or Guinea, which recently witnessed a coup. These three countries were listed to speak at the end of the meeting on September 27, but their seats are likely to remain vacant.
In addition to the Iranian and Libyan issues, the issues of combating global warming and addressing the Covid-19 pandemic will be at the center of the talks, although two summits are devoted to them, respectively, on Monday and Wednesday.
“We are going in the wrong direction in all areas,” Guterres said. It is absolutely unacceptable that there are countries where the rate of vaccination is 80% of the population and other countries where the rate is 2%.”
He added that the economic recovery is “unfair and dishonest” and “creates a North-South divide” already emerging in the fight against climate change.
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Source : ألدستور