United Nations, Sep 19 (AP) Over the course of the next week, leaders from scores of countries will take the marbled dais that, despite being geographically located in midtown Manhattan, belongs to the world. It's part of the UN General Assembly's General Debate, in which a parade of speakers will cycle through the iconic hall from Sept 19 to Sept 26.
POLAND'S PRESIDENT DRAWS HISTORICAL PARALLELS
Polish President Andrzej Duda likened the Russian invasion of Ukraine to the World War II occupation and partition of his own country by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union and urged the world to hold Moscow accountable for its “barbaric actions.”
“Poland lost its independence, was wiped (off) the map of the world, and subjected to an extremely brutal occupation. This is precisely why we understand the tragedy of Ukraine better than any other country,” Duda said.
Ukraine, he argued, was acting like a homeowner “defending his home against a mugger,” and required continued international support to pursue its own defense.
Duda added: “Today, the victim is Ukraine. Tomorrow, it could be any one of us.”
Duda's country took in more Ukrainian refugees than any other in the first few months of the war, though Germany now has more Ukrainian citizens registered.
HOW BIDEN'S REMARKS WERE RECEIVED
As US President Joe Biden pledged support to Ukraine, warning that no nation can be secure if “we allow Ukraine to be carved up,” there was a round of applause in the General Assembly Hall.
UN cameras showed Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy, sitting in Ukraine's seat in the General Assembly, clapping his hands.
BIDEN SENDS A MESSAGE TO BEIJING
US President Joe Biden sought to alleviate tensions with China in his speech, even as the United States tries to strengthen ties with other countries to limit Beijing's influence.
“None of these partnerships are about containing any country,” he said. “They're about a positive vision for our shared future.”
Addressing the relationship between US and China, Biden said, “we seek to responsibly manage competition between our two countries so it does not tip into conflict.”
China has been concerned for decades about Cold War “containment policies” in which the US tried to prevent communism from spreading. It remains a hot-button issue between China and the United States to this day.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is not attending the meeting of world leaders. Biden has talked about holding another meeting with him, but none has been scheduled yet.
GUTERRES ON LIBYA FLOODS
UN chief António Guterres began his address to the UNGA by evoking the tragic floods in Libya.
“Just nine days ago, many of the world's challenges coalesced in an awful hellscape,” he said. “Thousands of people in Derna, Libya, lost their lives in epic, unprecedented flooding. They were victims many times over, victims of years of conflict, victims of climate chaos, victims of leaders near and far who failed to find a way to peace. The people of Derna lived and died in the epicentre of that indifference.”
'COMPROMISE', SAYS UN'S SECRETARY-GENERAL
“In the face of all these challenges and more, compromise has become a dirty word," said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
"Our world needs statesmanship, not gamesmanship and gridlock. As I told the G20, it is time for a global compromise. Politics is compromise. Diplomacy is compromise. Effective leadership is compromise. Leaders have a special responsibility to achieve compromise in building a common future of peace and prosperity for our common good,” he said. (AP) SCY