Ukraine war, threat of nuclear disaster and exposing UN divisions take center stage in General Assembly

United Nations – UN officials had hoped that this year’s General Assembly in New York – the first annual gathering since the global body’s nearly 200 countries coronavirus The outbreak of the pandemic – will bring a broader focus to the many crises facing humanity right now. but with war Ukraine Threatening to add a nuclear disaster to that long list, it’s hard to imagine UNGA paying extra attention to other burning issues.

After two years of video and hybrid meetings, the World Series of Diplomacy returns to New York this week: Delegates from 193 governments gathered in the prestigious General Assembly Hall, including more heads of state than ever before. white House.

This year they meet as the ongoing war in Ukraine has presented Europe with a very real nuclear threat, On Monday, Ukraine again accused Vladimir Putin’s regime of “nuclear terrorism”. hit a Russian missile Close to a nuclear power plant in the south of the country.

Ukraine made a terrible discovery in the land acquired from the Russians


In the coming days, leaders gathered at the UN headquarters will hear a direct video appeal to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to help save his country from Russian aggression.

UN delegations were to vote on whether Zelensky should be allowed to address the assembly from his home country, as this year, speakers are required to be there in person. Russia protested, but other members voted to allow it due to “not allowing safe departure and withdrawal from Ukraine due to ongoing foreign aggression, aggression, military hostilities”.

Putin is not attending the General Assembly.

However, Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska is due in New York this week. Focusing on Ukraine, she is set to launch her charity, the Olena Zelenska Foundation, to raise funds for medical, education and humanitarian aid for Ukraine at a Thursday evening event at the Metropolitan Opera.

“Ukraine has never before sent a representative to the US to ask the American people for help,” said historian and CBS News contributor Dr. Amanda Foreman.

Climate change

Despite intense focus on Ukraine war and world food crisis, world leaders will also meet on record floods in pakistan continue to take a high toll, both financially and in human life, and right after Hurricane Fiona Slammed into the Dominican Republic, causing “catastrophic” damage. a huge storm Alaska also hit earlier this week.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “Don’t flood the world today, don’t drown it tomorrow.” told reporters last weekHe warned that his recent visit to flood-ravaged Pakistan had offered him a worrying look at the “future of permanent and all-encompassing climate chaos on an unimaginable scale”.

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Guterres underscored the climate crisis in his opening address for high-level debate on Tuesday, noting that geopolitical divisions cripple “the global response to the dramatic challenges we face”.

“Let’s put it this way: our world is addicted to fossil fuels,” he told the delegations gathered on Tuesday. “It is time for an intervention. We have to heed the fossil fuel companies and their supporters.”

He called on developed economies to tax the profits of fossil fuel companies and use the money to help other countries offset the damages of climate change and those struggling with high energy prices.

“Polluters have to pay,” the UN chief said.

Reforming a Gridlocked United Nations

United Nations General Assembly have brought the news – and traffic deadlock – Since 1945. Since then, 13 US presidents have used speeches in the assembly to define America’s place in the world – as President Biden is expected to do with his address on Wednesday.

The US is taking the lead in reforming the United Nations at a time when the global body appears to be surrounded by a structure created when it was established after World War II. UN rules – which give permanent members of the Security Council the unilateral ability to block resolutions – have helped prevent a war in Ukraine, or prevent that war from wreaking havoc on global supply chains and food distribution. left unable.

UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield discusses General Assembly agenda


On Wednesday, Mr Biden will focus on renewing engagement with all regions of the world with the message that “respecting the fundamentals of the international order is now more necessary than ever,” by john kirbyUS National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications.

“The United Nations is facing a crisis of confidence,” said US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said. “It is a crisis of confidence brought on by Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine. Even when the world was facing the threat of climate change, a pandemic, a global food crisis, the permanent members of the Security Council One of them attacked his neighbor.”

“This war tests the fundamental principles on which the United Nations was founded, but our response to Russia’s major violations cannot be to abandon the founding principles of this organization on which we so strongly believe.” do,” he said, adding that the General Assembly “will not be dominated” by Ukraine.

According to UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, Guterres was to open a high-level session on Tuesday with “a calm, concrete and solution-focused report card on the state of our world, where geopolitical divides are putting us all at risk.” Huh.”

The UN Security Council will hold a meeting on Thursday on Ukraine’s sovereignty and Russian accountability, which will be attended by the US Secretary of State and the foreign ministers of Ukraine and Russia. To further isolate Russia, the US will try to expose the atrocities in Ukraine.

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But Guterres has expressed no optimism about possible breakthroughs during that meeting.

“Anything that can help rebuild trust is useful, but it would be nave to think that we are close to the prospect of a peace deal,” he told CBS News in a press briefing,

Dag Hammarskjöld, the former head of the United Nations, once said: “The United Nations was not created to bring us to heaven, but to save us from hell.”

This week will give world leaders time to reflect on the urgency of that goal.

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