RPT: PREVIEW - UN General Assembly 75th Session Kicks Off Virtually In New York

UNITED NATIONS (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 15th September, 2020) The annual session of the UN General Assembly begins on Tuesday in New York but in a manner different from any other previous session in the 75-years-old history of the United Nations given that the event will mostly be held virtually amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The General Debate segment, set to be held on September 22-26, will most likely see no country leader traveling to the United Nations headquarters to deliver their messages on this year's theme "The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism - confronting COVID-19 through effective multilateral action."

Instead, the heads of state were invited to send pre-recorded speeches that will be presented in the General Assembly hall by a country's delegate already residing in New York.

"I think all of us very much hope that a virtual General Assembly is not the future of the United Nations," UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said ahead of the event. "It is something we have to deal with this year for the particular circumstances that we're currently facing."

Dujarric also said this year's General Assembly provides an opportunity for every leader of the 193 UN member states to speak without having to travel to the organization's headquarters.


US President Donald Trump, representing the United Nations host country, is expected to be the only leader speaking to the General Assembly in-person.

However, on Monday, Dujarric said he had no information whether Trump will speak in-person or virtually.

"As far as I know right now, no heads of state or government have confirmed a physical presence," Dujarric added.

The United States has imposed restrictions on the entry of travelers from China, Iran, the European Union's Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Brazil. In addition, New York State requires any international visitor or returnee to quarantine for 14-days. Both measures make it unlikely for the 75th session of the General Assembly to welcome any foreign officials.

The delegation of Russia - one of the founding countries of the United Nations - will be led by President Vladimir Putin this year. According to a preliminary program of speeches at the event, Putin will address the General Debate after which Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will lead the Russia's delegation.

Putin's speech at the General Assembly is scheduled for the first day of the General Debate - September 22 - following the participation of the leaders of the United States, Brazil, Turkey, China, Chile and Cuba.

According to Lavrov, Russia will focus on enhancing international cooperation in the fight against terrorism, strengthening the existing and developing new arms control treaties, ensuring observance of the UN Charter, promoting international law and preventing the distortion of history and revising the results of World War II.

Established after the Second World War in 1945, the United Nations is marking the 75th anniversary of its existence. On September 21, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will address an in-person high-level meeting to commemorate this milestone.

At the same event, 193 members of the United Nations will adopt a declaration to commemorate the anniversary, recall the United Nations' accomplishments as well as failures.

Guterres will also deliver a separate address at the General Assembly on September 22 with special emphasis on the challenges to multilateralism, problems highlighted by the novel coronavirus pandemic and the issue of inequality.