Diplomats struggle to hide their anger at Donald Trump's UN speech

The US President launched scathing attacks on several countries

Benjamin Kentish
Tuesday 19 September 2017 19:35 BST
Comments
Trump's attacks draw stern stares in the UN General Assembly

Donald Trump’s provocative address to the UN General Assembly had ambassadors squirming in their seats as the US President refused to hold back on attacking America’s enemies.

Mr Trump went on a rambling crusade against a number of states, including North Korea, Iran and Venezuela - prompting awkward responses from delegates.

Some representatives even refused to listen to the speech; North Korea’s UN ambassador walked out before Mr Trump arrived, leaving a more junior diplomat to represent the country.

The delegate that remained refused to look at Mr Trump, instead staring furiously into his lap and appearing to scribble on a notepad as the US President referred to the country's leader, Kim Jong-un, as "rocket man" and said: “No one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the wellbeing of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea”.

The billionaire businessman added: “It is responsible for the starvation deaths of millions of North Koreans and for the imprisonment, torture, killing and oppression of countless more.”

North Korea's ambassador walked out before Mr Trump arrived - leaving a more junior diplomat to listen to the speech
North Korea's ambassador walked out before Mr Trump arrived - leaving a more junior diplomat to listen to the speech

Mr Trump also turned his anger on Iran, whose UN ambassador raised his eyebrows and glared as the US President described the Middle Eastern country as a “corrupt dictatorship”.

“The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy,” Mr Trump said. “It has turned a wealthy country, with a rich history and culture, into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violent, bloodshed and chaos.

“It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran's government end its pursuit of death and destruction.”

Iran's ambassador raised his eyebrows as Mr Trump described the Middle Eastern state as a 'corrupt dictatorship'
Iran's ambassador raised his eyebrows as Mr Trump described the Middle Eastern state as a 'corrupt dictatorship'

Mr Trump also condemned Venezuela, where violent clashes have followed economic collapse and attempts by the country’s President, Nicolas Maduro, to gain greater control of the parliament.

The South American state’s representatives sat stony-faced as the US President said: “The socialist dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro has inflicted terrible pain and suffering on the good people of that country.

“This corrupt regime destroyed a prosperous nation -- prosperous nation, by imposing a failed ideology that has produced poverty and misery everywhere it has been tried. To make matters worse, Maduro has defied his own people, stealing power from their elected representatives, to preserve his disastrous rule. The Venezuelan people are starving and their country is collapsing.”

Venezuela's delegation looked unhappy to hear the US President claim their country was 'collapsing'
Venezuela's delegation looked unhappy to hear the US President claim their country was 'collapsing'

However, the response to the speech was not entirely negative.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could be seen nodding and applauding as Mr Trump praised “peaceful” Israel and slammed the nuclear deal with Iran made by his predecessor, Barack Obama, as “an embarrassment” and “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into”.

Saudi Arabia is also likely to have been cheered by Mr Trump’s criticism of Iran, given the two countries are locked in a proxy conflict for control in the Middle East.

Some commentators also pointed out that the US President had failed to mention the Saudis’ own questionable record on human rights.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in