UNGA event to open with Biden’s address

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UNITED NATION: After a ghostly session last year due to the Covid pandemic when the cavernous hall at the UN was near empty and speakers spoke virtually, this year’s session will begin on a high note with the much-awaited in-person address by US President Joe Biden on Tuesday.

Climate change focus for UK PM

London: British PM Boris Johnson will call upon world leaders to take a “concrete action” on climate change during his meetings at the high-level UN General Assembly this week. “World leaders have a small window of time left to deliver on their climate commitments ahead of COP26,” Johnson said ahead of the UNGA. PTI

This year too, the authorities have restricted the entourage to be permitted into the General Assembly Hall and countries have been asked to opt for pre-recorded statements instead of traveling to New York.

But if Biden will try to reverse some of the attacks on multilateralism from this podium by his predecessor Donald Trump, it is Afghanistan and conducting a lot of diplomatic business on the sidelines of the week-long high-level General Debate that has persuaded almost 100 heads of state and government, including PM Narendra Modi, to travel to New York. Accompanying him will be External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

PM Modi will be speaking on September 25 and will attend a Quad summit hosted by Biden a day earlier. Just before the Quad, there are expectations of a Biden-Modi meeting.

The proceedings on Tuesday will open with some good tidings for India. On that day, Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid will be sworn in as the General Assembly President, replacing Volkan Bozkir from Turkey who had once suggested that Pakistan should raise the Kashmir issue more forcefully and that all parties should refrain from steps that affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir.

The leaders speaking at the debate have been asked to focus on the theme, “Building resilience through hope — to recover from Covid, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people and revitalise the United Nations”.

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