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Warning against a “winter of grumbling” at the opening of the UN General Assembly, H24info

The UN secretary-general warned at the opening of the annual General Assembly on Tuesday of a “winter of discontent looming on the horizon”, in a world “paralyzed” by divisions despite the crises that piling up, from the war in Ukraine to global warming.

“The purchasing power crisis is unleashed, confidence is crumbling, inequalities are exploding, our planet is burning”, and despite everything, “we are blocked by a colossal global dysfunction”, declared Antonio Guterres by opening this week of high level of the United Nations General Assembly.

“These crises threaten the very future of humanity and the fate of the planet,” he said. “Let us not delude ourselves. We are in rough seas. A winter of global discontent looms on the horizon.

After the Secretary General, for several days, dozens of Heads of State and Government from around the world will speak during this annual diplomatic high mass which resumes in person after two years disrupted by the Covid-19.

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Traditionally, this first day gives pride of place to the speech of the American president who, as leader of the country hosting the United Nations headquarters, speaks in the first. But exceptionally – as on very rare occasions in the past – this will not be the case: Joe Biden, who was at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, postponed his intervention to Wednesday.

North-South “fracking”

Among the dangers that threaten the world mentioned by the Secretary General, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

As Moscow announced on Tuesday a referendum to annex the Kherson region under the control of its troops, this war will be at the heart of this high-level diplomatic week.

With in particular an intervention on Wednesday by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – by video thanks to a special authorization voted last week by the Member States – and a Security Council on Thursday at the level of Foreign Ministers.

But the countries of the South are increasingly annoyed that Westerners are focusing their attention on Ukraine.

In an attempt to respond to the concerns of certain countries, Americans and Europeans are organizing a ministerial meeting on Tuesday on food security, a consequence of this war from which the whole planet is suffering.

And French President Emmanuel Macron, who must be at the podium on Tuesday at midday, will insist on the need to prevent the “fracturing” between countries of the North and the South, it is indicated at the Elysée, specifying that the Head of State will organize a dinner on this theme with several other leaders.

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These tensions caused by the war in Ukraine echo the North-South resentment in the fight against climate change.

Poor countries, on the front line of the devastating impacts of global warming for which they are not responsible, are fighting in particular to ensure that rich countries finally keep their promises of financial aid.

A “suicidal war”

“It is high time to move beyond these endless discussions,” Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday.

Attacking the large companies producing fossil fuels which “revel” in profits inflated by the war in Ukraine, he also called on the rich countries to tax these profits in order to “redirect” them in part to the countries suffering ‘loss and damage’ due to the devastating impacts of climate change and to populations experiencing inflation.

Two months before the UN COP27 climate conference in Egypt, “climate action has taken a back seat” to other crises, he also denounced, calling for an end to “our suicidal war against nature “.

On Tuesday, Brazilian Presidents Jair Bolsonaro and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz must also succeed each other on the podium.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is also in New York this week for his first General Assembly and the nuclear issue could once again be at the center of discussions.

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Mr. Raïssi was due to meet Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, who has encouraged him in recent months during telephone interviews to accept the conditions proposed by the Europeans to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement supposed to prevent Tehran from acquiring the atomic bomb. in exchange for the lifting of sanctions suffocating its economy.

This high-level week, however, has a few notable absentees, in particular Russian Presidents Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.


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