The global divisions over the war in Ukraine and its implications, including food and energy crises, are expected to take center stage as world leaders begin addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Tuesday.
The 77th session, the first in-person gathering since the pandemic began, will highlight the polarization over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as the United Nations seeks to facilitate dialogue and discussions of plans to address the war’s reverberations.
“The General Assembly is meeting at a time of great peril,” António Guterres, the secretary general of the United Nations, said last week. “Our world is blighted by war, battered by climate chaos, scarred by hate, and shamed by poverty, hunger, and inequality.”
Notably absent among the more than 150 leaders and government representatives scheduled to deliver speeches from Tuesday through Sunday is Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin. Also sitting out the gathering are China’s leader, Xi Jinping, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, who each met with Mr. Putin at a regional gathering last week in Uzbekistan and expressed reservations about Russia’s war.
Those leaders will be represented by ministers who will deliver speeches later in the week after heads of states and governments have spoken, in accordance with United Nations protocol.
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine will address the assembly in a prerecorded video speech on Wednesday. He was granted an exemption to the rule requiring in-person speeches to the General Assembly this year.
“There will be important signals from our state,” Mr. Zelensky said of the speech in his nightly address on Monday. He said he would also meet online with “American partners and investors” about Ukraine’s defense, financial, and economic needs.
President Biden, who is expected to call for continued support of Ukraine and emphasize the importance of allied democracies at a time of rising authoritarianism, will speak on Wednesday, a day later than his traditionally allotted spot, after returning from Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in London.
Among those scheduled to speak Tuesday are Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has positioned himself as a mediator between Ukraine and Russia; Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, whose country is bracing for an energy crisis; and President Emmanuel Macron of France, who has urged diplomatic solutions to the war.
The focus on Ukraine is expected to draw concerns from developing countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Leaders there fear the world’s preoccupation with the war in Ukraine has diverted humanitarian aid and resources from other nations that are in dire need.
The United States, the European Union and the African Union will hold a joint conference on food insecurity and rising prices on the sidelines of the General Assembly gathering on Tuesday.
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