World leaders are speaking for a third day at the 76th session of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
The leaders of South Africa, Iraq and Libya’s national unity government are among those slated to address the world gathering in New York on Thursday.
During opening remarks on Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of a world on the “edge of an abyss” as he urged countries to up engagement with the organisation.
On Wednesday, the leaders of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and the United Kingdom were among those to address the assembly. Meanwhile, the US hosted a vaccine summit and pledged to increase Washington’s global donations of doses by 500,000, bringing the total through 2022 to 1.1 billion.
Here are all the latest updates:
US Secretary Blinken meets with ASEAN Foreign Ministers
Secretary of State Antony Blinken met today with foreign ministers of ASEAN nations on the margins of the UN General Assembly, spokesperson Ned Price said.
Blinken thanked ASEAN countries for their support of the unprecedented global effort to evacuate US citizens and personnel of other nations from Afghanistan. He also reaffirmed the US commitment to ASEAN centrality and US support for the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.
Panama leader seeks help with flood of migrants
Panama’s President Laurentino Cortizo requested support to address the flood of migrants passing through his nation.
He told the UN General Assembly that, this year alone, already 80,000 migrants have traversed Panama. It’s been an exponential rise, from 800 in January to 30,000 last month, and Panama dedicates some of its limited resources to providing them with food and shelter.
“Panama does its part. Now we appeal to the international community to, as soon as possible, make a joint effort, with coordinated strategies and resources,” he said.
Cuba blasts US foreign policy
President Miguel Diaz-Canel seized on the US pullout from Afghanistan to blast the United States for what he said is a history of foreign policy disasters.
“Occupation only leaves destruction, and no country has the right to impose its will on sovereign nations,” Diaz-Canel said in a pre-recorded video shown at the UN General Assembly.
“Afghanistan is not an isolated case. It has been evidence that where the United States intervenes, there is an increase in instability, deaths, suffering and enduring scars.”
US says ‘no indication’ Iran wants to return to nuclear deal talks
The US said that Iran has given no hint that it wants to return to stalled talks over reviving the Iranian nuclear deal.
“For now, certainly there’s no indication, positive indication that Iran is prepared to come back… and to try to close down the remaining issues,” a senior US official said.
“We don’t have direct interaction with the Iranians so it’s hard for us to assess levels of optimism and pessimism.”
UN head says world must change food priorities to save the planet
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged nations to revamp their food priorities, saying the world needed food systems that safeguard the environment.
“The war on our planet must end and food systems can help us build that peace,” the Secretary-General told a UN summit in New York.
Guterres said food systems “can and must play a leading role” in meeting the UN’s sustainable development goals by 2030.
Guterres says climate change threatens security
The effects of climate change threaten to further escalate problems in regions that are already unstable or in conflict, Guterres said.
“It is clear that climate change and environmental mismanagement are risk multipliers where coping capacities are limited.”
Dependence on dwindling resources, such as water, could exacerbate tensions on the ground, he said, but added that these problems could be counteracted through measures taken by the council and others.
Vaccine inequality ‘indictment on humanity’
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has called the unequal distribution of vaccines across the world “an indictment on humanity”.
More than 5.9 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered globally during the past year, representing about 43 percent of the global population.
But there are vast disparities in distribution, with many lower-income nations struggling to vaccinate even the most vulnerable share of their populations. Some have yet 2- to 3-percent vaccination rates.
Ramaphosa was among several African leaders slated to address vaccine inequality on Thursday.
Iran says ‘serious progress’ in talks with Saudi Arabia
Talks between Tehran and Riyadh have led to “serious progress” on the issue of Gulf security, an Iranian foreign ministry official said.
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of UNGA, ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh Khatibzadeh said the talks were “good” and called for countries to settle regional issues between themselves, without foreign interference.
“Serious progress has been made on the subject of security in the Gulf,” state news agency IRNA quoted Khatibzadeh as saying.
Shia-majority Iran and Sunni kingpin Saudi Arabia, on opposing sides in multiple regional conflicts, have been engaged in talks since April with the aim of improving relations, for the first time since cutting ties in 2016.