UN General Assembly to witness something unusual this year

For the first time in the 75-year history of the United Nations, world leaders and heads of government will not attend the General Assembly due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

UN General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande told a news conference on Monday that he hoped that in the next two weeks, it would be decided that 193 heads of government and state, both local and global how would address the General Assembly in September this year.

“World leaders cannot come to New York because they cannot come simply as individuals,” he said. “A president doesn’t travel alone, leaders don’t travel alone” and “it is impossible” to bring large delegations to New York during the pandemic.

“We cannot have them in person as we used to — what happened in the last 74 years — but it will happen” Muhammad-Bande said of the annual event.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recommended last month that the gathering of world leaders, which was supposed to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, be dramatically scaled back because of the pandemic.

The meeting of world leaders usually brings thousands of government officials, diplomats and civil society representatives to New York for over a week of speeches, dinners, receptions, one-on-one meetings and hundreds of side events.

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