UNGA debate opens as world’s leaders reconvene entirely in person for first time since COVID-19 pandemic began

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

Photo : ANI

New York: The UN General Assembly, the annual gathering of world leaders that clogs Midtown Manhattan, returned in person after two years of pandemic restrictions with only Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. being allowed to appear virtually. With the event taking place against the backdrop of raging conflicts in Ukraine and Iran, UN chief Antonio Guterres warned of an upcoming “winter of global discontent” from rising prices, a warming planet and more.

“A winter of global discontent is on the horizon. Trust is crumbling, inequalities are exploding, our planet is burning. People are hurting — with the most vulnerable suffering the most…Let’s tell it like it is — Our world is addicted to fossil fuels. It’s time for an intervention. We need to hold fossil fuel companies and their enablers to account,” Guterres said.

Western leaders led by the United States have made clear they do not want the summit to focus exclusively on the Ukraine war itself, mindful of resentment in the developing world to the billions of dollars sent in weapons.

While talks with Iran at the United Nations will once again focus on the fate of a 2015 nuclear accord, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi traveled as protests grip his country following the death of a young woman arrested by “morality police.”

Meanwhile, Russian-backed forces announced they were going ahead with a move the West had long warned against – referendums on annexation by Moscow – just as leaders huddled at the United Nations about the war in Ukraine.

With US officials frustrated by Moscow’s veto of Security Council measures and declarations over the Russian invasion of Ukraine, President Joe Biden could urge reforms in private to the UN secretary general and other officials

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