World leaders came together virtually on Monday to mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nationsas the coronavirus pandemic and economic disruptions call into question the effectiveness and solidarity of the organization founded after the horrors of WWII.
Millions of people were forced to lock themselves up and the economy was devastated when COVID-19 spread around the world earlier this year. Now some countries are facing a second wave and the 1
On its own anniversary website, the UN announced that the event took place at “a time of great disruption to the world exacerbated by an unprecedented global health crisis with serious economic and social repercussions”.
The coronavirus has exacerbated long-simmering tensions between the US and China. Washington accuses Beijing of a lack of transparency about the outbreak that began in downtown Wuhan, China, late last year.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a blatant blow in Washington on Monday: “No country has the right to rule global affairs, control the fate of others, or keep development advantages to itself. Even less should one be allowed to do what whatever. ” it likes and is the hegemon, tyrant or boss of the world. Unilateralism is a dead end. “
UNGA75 goes virtual as COVID-19 keeps world leaders at home
Xi’s remarks were not included in the video he recorded for the meeting. They were included in a lengthy statement that the Chinese UN mission was presented to the world body.
China has portrayed itself as a cheerleader for multilateralism after US President Donald Trump disregarded international cooperation and Washington abandoned global agreements on climate and Iran and left the UN Human Rights Council and the World Health Organization (WHO).
“Reasons for concern”
Trump was listed as the first speaker among member states on the United Nations agenda for the event. Instead, Cherith Norman Chalet, US Deputy Representative to the United Nations, spoke in the General Assembly Hall.
The world body has proven to be a “successful experiment” in many ways, she said, but added that there are “reasons for concern” too.
“The United Nations has been resistant to major reform for too long, too often lacking transparency and too vulnerable to the agendas of autocratic regimes and dictatorships, “she said.
Al Jazeera’s diplomatic correspondent James Bays said Trump’s absence raised eyebrows.
“People are asking if this was a deliberate nudge or an indication of how important the US is to the UN on its priority list,” he said outside the UN headquarters in New York City.
Other leaders spoke of the need for countries to work together on issues such as climate change and the pandemic, lamenting the rivalries that are undermining the United Nations and international cooperation.
“Our common home is in disarray. Our foundations are crumbling,” French President Emmanuel Macron told the gathering.
“”Wars of annexation, the use of chemical weapons and mass imprisonment take place with impunity, “he continued.” Our international system is held hostage by rivalries. It is weakened by its inability to prosecute those responsible for these abuses. “
But Trump chose the moment of the UN anniversary Imposing sanctions on Iran for violating a UN arms embargo and demanding enforcement by US allies, despite its decision in 2018 to unilaterally withdraw the US from the Six Power Agreement. Allies say he has no authority to make such demands.
Calls for reform
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the pandemic had exposed the world’s fragility.
“We can only tackle them together. Today we have an excess of multilateral challenges and a deficit of multilateral solutions,” he said. “Nobody wants world government – but we have to work together to improve world government.”
The United Nations resolution on the “global ceasefire” is shaken
It took the 15-member Security Council months to endorse a Guterres call for a global ceasefire – so countries can focus on fighting COVID-19 – as a result of disputes between China and the US U.S.
In particular, several heads of state and government called for reform of the United Nations and the Security Council, arguing that it was unfair that the USRussia, China, France and the United Kingdom were the only permanent veto powers.
“A council structure that leaves the fate of more than seven billion people to the mercy of five countries is neither fair nor sustainable,” said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The one-day special Monday event preceded the annual meeting of world leaders U.N.that starts on Tuesday. No Presidents or Prime Ministers will be physically present in New York due to the pandemic, and all statements have been taped for broadcast in the General Assembly Hall.
The U.N. was established after World War II when the countries decided to come together to prevent another such conflict. Although there has not been a war of this magnitude since then, the heads of state and government adopted a statement on Monday recognizing “moments of disappointment”.
“All of this requires more action, not less,” the statement said.