Ukraine to dominate UN General Assembly amid geopolitical split |  United Nations News

Ukraine to dominate UN General Assembly amid geopolitical split | United Nations News

Climate change, sanctions against Iran and worsening global poverty will also be featured at the annual meeting of world leaders in New York this week.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the global food crisis exacerbated by the war will be the focus of world leaders when they meet this week at the UN in New York and are unlikely to lead to any progress towards ending the conflict.

“It would be naïve to think that we are close to the possibility of reaching a peace agreement,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Saturday ahead of a high-level meeting of 193 member states starting on Tuesday.

“Currently, the chances of a peace agreement are minimal.”

Geopolitical divisions, exacerbated by the seven-month war, are likely to come into full play as the United States and its Western allies compete with Russia for diplomatic influence.

Moreover, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said she had no plans to meet with Russian diplomats.

“They did not indicate that they were interested in diplomacy. What they are interested in is to continue the unprovoked war against Ukraine,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

She added that while the war in Ukraine is being discussed, “we cannot ignore the rest of the world.”

Guterres said the geopolitical divisions were “the biggest since at least the Cold War” and “paralyzed the global response to the dramatic challenges we face” by highlighting conflict, climate, poverty, hunger and inequality.

“Great Tension”

Russia and Ukraine are major grain and fertilizer exporters, and the UN blamed the war for exacerbating a food crisis already caused by climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The United States will co-host a food security summit with the European Union and the African Union on the sidelines of the UN meeting, as well as a global COVID-19 action plan meeting and a Global Fund to Fight AIDS and Tuberculosis replenishment conference. and malaria.

“At the heart of many of these meetings will be huge tensions between Western countries and, in particular, representatives of the global South,” said Richard Gowan, UN director at the International Crisis Group.

“There is still a lot of dissatisfaction over issues like COVID vaccine deployment, climate change funding… and now food prices. All of these issues are driving wedges between UN member states,” Gowen said.

Men close the damaged windows of an apartment building following a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine. [File: Leo Correa/AP Photo]

Russia is trying to soften its international isolation after nearly three-quarters of the UNGA voted to reprimand Moscow and demand that it withdraw its troops within a week of its February 24 invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, his American counterpart Anthony Blinken and French President Emmanuel Macron have visited African countries over the past few months, vying for influence. Africa has been hit hard by the famine that is expected to be declared in Somalia in the coming months.

Macron intends to use his two-day visit to New York to lobby countries that have remained neutral in the war to try and win them over to the West, with a focus on India, the Gulf states, Africa and some Latin American countries, French officials said. states.

Personal presence

For the past two years, leaders have been allowed to submit video messages due to pandemic restrictions, but this year they must travel to New York to address the UN General Assembly Hall. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping send their foreign ministers.

However, the UN General Assembly agreed to allow Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to send a pre-recorded video message. The decision was adopted by 101 votes to 7, with 19 abstentions. The participation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmitry Kuleba is expected.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is also going to New York. While it is unlikely that Tehran and Washington will break the deadlock anytime soon to salvage the 2015 nuclear pact, Iran will use the meeting to continue the diplomatic process, reaffirming its readiness to reach a sustainable deal.

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