The UN General Assembly in New York
The invasion of UN member country Ukraine by Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, could cast a shadow over the entire 77th session of the UN General Assembly.
“The General Assembly is meeting at a time of great peril,” UN Secretary-Antonio Guterres said at a news conference last week. “Geostrategic divides are the widest they have been since at least the Cold War. They are paralyzing the global response to the dramatic challenges we face.”
Don’t expect this year’s General Assembly to be “business as usual,” US Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs Michele Sison said on Sept. 17. “Russia’s unprovoked, ongoing assault on Ukraine raises serious questions about its commitment to diplomacy, the UN Charter, and the territorial integrity of nations.”
Many UN diplomats say that Russia has put the UN’s credibility and image at stake this year by invading another UN country, with the UN unable to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop.
Here’s a look at some ways the issue could emerge at the assembly:
- The great majority of UN membership strongly opposes Russia’s war in Ukraine. Expect Western countries to use their official speeches to bash Moscow. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will speak on Saturday, but no Western country has said if they have bilateral planned with the Russian visitor.
- On Thursday morning, there will be a ministerial Security Council session on Thursday morning on Ukraine, with Lavrov the highest ranking member of the Russian government to attend.
- Food security is another major topic for the global forum, with the world economy hard-hit by the pandemic, inflation and struggling supply chains. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is expected to chair a meeting on food during the high level week.