• In ‘Ukraine-centric’ opening, Biden and Zelensky call on nations to deter Russia’s aggression
• PM Kakar meets Iranian president, attends GDI forum
UNITED NATIONS: Antonio Guterres had some strong words for participating nations as the United Nations General Assembly got under way on Tuesday, calling for sweeping changes to multilateral institutions, including reforms in the UN Security Council, and a restructuring of global financial systems.
Although major figures such as US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky focused primarily on Russia’s war in Ukraine, the focus on the war has also drawn criticism from developing countries who believe it has distracted the West, especially from other urgent priorities.
“Our world is becoming unhinged. Geopolitical tensions are rising. Global challenges are mounting. And we seem incapable of coming together to respond,” the UN secretary-general said.
He opened the General Assembly with a bleak speech highlighting the recent floods that killed thousands in Derna, Libya.
“The world has changed. Our institutions have not. We cannot effectively address problems as they are if institutions don’t reflect the world as it is. Instead of solving problems, they risk becoming part of the problem,” he said, calling on world leaders to show and not merely more words to deal with the worsening climate emergency, escalating conflicts, dramatic technological disruptions and a global cost-of-living crisis that was increasing hunger and poverty around the world.
In his speech, US President Joe Biden focused on Russia’s war in Ukraine, warning the world: “If we abandon the core principles of the UN Charter to appease an aggressor, can any member state in this body feel confident that they are protected? If we allow Ukraine to be carved up, is the independence of any nation secure?”
“We must stand up to this naked aggression today to deter other would-be aggressors tomorrow,” he said, calling on nations to stand with Ukraine against Russian invaders.
Wearing his trademark military fatigues, Volodymyr Zelensky also joined the annual UN General Assembly and said that Moscow had to be pushed back so the world could turn to solving pressing global challenges.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan contingent at the UN, led by caretaker PM Anwaarul Haq Kakar, held a number of meetings on the sidelines of the UNGA.
According to the PM Office, he held a bilateral meeting with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, where the two discussed the possibilities of enhancing cooperation in the economic domain.
Separately, the caretaker PM also participated in a high-level meeting on Global Development Initiative Cooperation Outcomes.
Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2023