United Nations General Assembly: Live Updates

Spread the love

President Trump, whose apocalyptic speech in his United Nations debut last year riveted much of the world’s attention, will again speak on the world’s most important diplomatic stage Tuesday, at the organization’s New York headquarters. Mr. Trump has alienated allies and sidled up to adversaries, all as he pursues an America First agenda — as his administration describes it — as the foundation of his foreign policy.

Unlike 2017, however, when Mr. Trump threatened to annihilate North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong-un, he is widely expected to tout his budding friendship with Mr. Kim — even though there has been no progress in their underlying dispute over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles.

Mr. Trump will almost certainly not, however, be meeting with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, despite saying that he would “always be available” for such an encounter. On Tuesday, Mr. Trump said on Twitter that he had “no plans” to meet with the Iranian leader.

[Read our article on why Mr. Trump’s aides fear he may be too nice at this year’s General Assembly, vulnerable to exploitation by wily adversaries.]

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, President Emmanuel Macron of France, Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain and Mr. Rouhani are all scheduled to speak later in the day.

The fate of the Iran nuclear agreement, Mr. Trump’s overtures to North Korea, the wars in Syria and Yemen, the plight of Myanmar’s Rohingya minority, and the economic meltdown in once-prosperous Venezuela are among some of the major issues.

Underlying them all are what actions the Trump administration might announce to deal with them. And of course there is what diplomats have called the mother of all intractable disputes, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which Mr. Trump has alienated the Palestinians by denying them financial aid and siding with the Israelis on key issues.

There is some expectation that Mr. Trump’s chief adviser on the Middle East, his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, may finally unveil his long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. But many diplomats have said they have no idea what would be in it, and some have speculated that the plan may not even exist.

In the hierarchy of the United Nations, the president of the General Assembly is considered one of the most prestigious positions. The president, elected annually, accords representatives of other member states the right to speak at assembly gatherings, makes decisions on points of order and has “complete control of the proceedings,” according to the rules.

This year, the assembly elected María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, the foreign minister of Ecuador. She is the first woman from Latin America to be elected as assembly president, and only the fourth woman to hold that position in the history of the United Nations.

In the official announcement in June that she had been elected, Ms. Espinosa dedicated her victory to “all the women in the world who participated in politics — sometimes facing political and media attacks marked by machismo and discrimination.”

While the speech by President Trump may be the General Assembly’s main attraction, tradition dictates that he will not be the first person to speak during what is known as the general debate, when the leaders take turns addressing the body. That honor lies with Brazil — and has for decades. Why?

The answer dates to the early days of the United Nations, when, according to the UN Protocol and Liaison Services, no country wanted to be the first to speak. Brazil repeatedly volunteered to be the first nation on the agenda, and tradition stuck.

Brazil, which has been a member state of the United Nations since 1945 but does not have a permanent seat on the Security Council, has spoken first every year since 1955, save for three instances. This year, President Michel Temer — a deeply unpopular leader who has spent years fighting corruption charges, will be the first national leader to speak.

The United States, as the host nation, is given the second slot, and then the order of speakers “follows a complex algorithm reflecting level of representation, geographical balance, the order in which the request to speak was recorded, and other considerations,” according to the United Nations.

Speakers are asked to keep their statements to less than 15 minutes, but world leaders often go over the allotted time. The longest-ever General Assembly speech was by Fidel Castro: four hours and 29 minutes, in 1960.

Who gave the United Nations its name?

The term “United Nations” was coined by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was first used in the Declaration by United Nations of Jan. 1, 1942 — during World War II — when representatives of 26 nations pledged their governments to continue fighting together against the Axis Powers.

Who designed the United Nations flag?

Oliver Lincoln Lundquist, an American architect and industrial designer, led a team that created the design, a map of the world encased in two olive branches. He died Dec. 28, 2008 in New York at age 92.

What United Nations declaration is the most translated document in the world?

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed by the General Assembly in 1948, was the first to lay out basic human rights that apply to all peoples everywhere. It has been translated into more than 500 languages.

What are the official languages of the United Nations?

Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

Does the United Nations have an official anthem?

No, but a hymn was written for the United Nations and performed at its headquarters on Oct. 24, 1971, to celebrate the organization’s 25th anniversary. U Thant, the secretary general at the time, hoped it would be used after that on appropriate occasions. The music was created by Pablo Casals, the Spanish maestro, with lyrics by W.H. Auden, the English poet. They called it “A Hymn to the U.N.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*