US, Ukrainian and Iranian leaders were due to address the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday as the world is facing many deepening crises.
President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy strongly denounce the ongoing invasion of Russia as the greatest threat to peace and security in this generation.
“This war is about obliterating Ukraine’s right to exist as a state, plain and simple, and Ukraine’s right to exist as a nation,” said the US president. “Whoever you are … it should make your blood cool.”
Dozens of world leaders can agree, especially as many of them live in the shadow of more powerful enemy neighbors. However, they are also concerned about other pressing issues, such as a potential looming global recession triggered by soaring fuel and food prices.
And climate change remains an existential crisis for the world, and especially for some of the small island nations, whose leaders will also grace the podium at the UN building on New York’s East Side.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is likely to focus on making progress towards easing sanctions against the Islamic Republic and possibly accelerating the nuclear deal with other world powers in 2015.
Ukrainian Zelenskiy was said to have spoken via video, while his country is still struggling to repel the Russian invasion, which shows no signs of a swift end.
Zelenskiy was allowed to speak on the tape because of a seven-month war, which resulted in widespread condemnation by nearly 150 world leaders who came to New York City for the annual post-break event of the COVID pandemic.
The war in the heart of Europe is the front and center of the world as it has already caused a global rise in food and energy prices, which in turn could plunge the global economy into recession. The invasion also raised fears of a nuclear disaster as fighting raged near Europe’s largest nuclear power plant near the front lines in partly Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine.
Zelensky will certainly condemn the impact of the war on the world, and especially on his independent, former Soviet people.
It will also seek to unite support for the principle that nations should have the right to live without fear of att*ck by larger, more powerful neighbors, which is the credo underlying the UN mission.
Russian strongman Vladimir Putin will skip the UN meeting for the third year in a row. In addition to avoiding confrontation over the invasion, Putin is known to be concerned about being exposed to COVID in such a large gathering.
A few hours before Zelensky’s speech on Wednesday, Putin ordered partial mobilization of reservists in Russia to bolster its invasion force after a series of humiliating defeats in Ukraine.
Leaders from many other countries hope to prevent the wider conflict and the spread of the conflict to other hotspots in Europe, with some, such as Turkey, positioning themselves as neutral referees.
However, there is no hope of progress towards an end to hostilities as both sides are determined to make progress on the battlefield before coming to the table with meaningful compromise proposals.
Biden’s address on Wednesday It is also expected to focus heavily on the war in Ukraine, where the country’s troops have regained control of large swaths of territory in the Northeast in recent weeks.
In another case, a UN meeting is held as the Biden administration seeks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which appears to be stalled.
The nuclear deal, negotiated by former President Barack Obama and terminated by former President Donald Trump in 2018, secured billions of dollars to ease sanctions in exchange for Iran’s consent to abolish much of its nuclear program and open up its facilities to international control.
Since the United States withdrew from the deal, Tehran has embarked on its nuclear program and is on the brink of nuclear weapons production.
But progress towards a new accord has been painfully slow, and there is no hope of a breakthrough at the general assembly.
Despite a series of seemingly unsolvable problems, some leaders saw signs of hope as the General Assembly returned fully in person as the pandemic wears off.
“For each of us, the United Nations is a unique platform for dialogue and cooperation,” said Swiss President Ignazio Cassis.
President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos Jr. he said that his country is an “optimistic” nation for which “solutions are within our reach”.
“As mankind seeks to defend freedom and build lasting peace, the role of the United Nations is essential,” said South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol.
With News Wire services
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