UNGA Briefing: Permanent observers, more Security Council and what else is going on at the UN

It’s Day 3 of the U.N. General Assembly high-level meeting that brings world leaders together at U.N. headquarters in New York

Via AP news wire
Thursday 21 September 2023 00:19 BST
UN General Assembly Security Council
UN General Assembly Security Council

It's Day 3 of the U.N. General Assembly high-level meeting that brings world leaders together at U.N. headquarters in New York. Here are the highlights of what happened Wednesday at the U.N. and what to keep an eye on Thursday. Follow our live updates to keep up with developments all week.


— All eyes were on the Security Council's meeting on Ukraine for possible fireworks when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov crossed paths. But then they didn't.

— At the Climate Ambition Summit, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry wasn't permitted to speak. But at least one American was: California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

— On the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, U.S. President Joe Biden held highly anticipated bilateral meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

— With two days of speeches under the General Debate's belt, is any one specific storyline emerging?

— Speech count: 40


— Key speeches: Rashad al-Alimi, head of Yemen's internationally recognized government; Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe; Kenyan President William Ruto; China's vice president Han Zheng; Abdel-Fattah Burhan, Sudan's military leader and chair of its ruling Sovereign Council.

— Burhan's speech comes on the heels of last week's resignation of the U.N. envoy in Sudan, Volker Perthes. At least 5,000 people have been killed and more than 12,000 others wounded since simmering tensions between Burhan's military forces and the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces exploded into open warfare, according to Perthes, who said the actual casualty toll is likely much higher.

— We'll hear from two of the three permanent observers invited to speak to the General Assembly: the European Union, represented by Charles Michel, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Last year, Abbas had the longest speech of the week.

— The U.N. Security Council is also scheduled to meet on two topics. On the agenda: a continuance of the meeting on Ukraine, as well as a separate meeting on Nagorno-Karabakh that was requested last year by Armenia.

— A few hundred miles away, U.S. President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will meet at the White House. Zelenskyy is also expected on Capitol Hill.

— The General Debate will reach its halfway mark by the end of Thursday, increasing the likelihood we'll start to see some exercises of the right of reply.


“It is a relationship of equals.”

— Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, characterizing his country's dynamic with the United States during a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden on workers' rights.


22 billion: Metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions the world has to cut in the next seven years to reach the climate-fighting goal, per Sultan Al Jaber, who will run the upcoming climate negotiations in Dubai.


For more coverage of this year's U.N. General Assembly, visit https://apnews.com/hub/united-nations-general-assembly

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