The meetings of the UN General Assembly have begun on Tuesday with some large absences such as that of the presidents of China and France, Xi Jinping and Emmanuel Macron, and with the star of the meeting, Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelenski, addressing the attendees in person. Last year, Zelenskiy could not attend because of the situation in his country, and limited himself to speaking by video.
The Ukrainian president will speak around 19 hours of Spain in a day that, indirectly, is marked by Ukraine. Spanish Pedro Sánchez speaks tomorrow night, local time (early Thursday morning in Spain).
The first leader to speak was, as is customary since the time when no one wanted to occupy that position, the Brazilian Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. His arrival at the speakers' rostrum was an interesting change in the tone of the Assembly, given that his rhetoric is very different from that of his predecessor, the nationalist Jair Bolsonaro.
"Ladies and gentlemen, today I return as president of Brazil. And this is thanks to the victory that democracy won in my country. Democracy ensured that we overcome hatred, misinformation and oppression."
"Hope has once again overcome fear. Our mission is to unite Brazil and rebuild a sovereign, just, sustainable, generous and joyful state. Brazil has cut back on itself, the region and multilateralism. I will never tire of repeating it."
"Brazil is back," Lula said. "Our country has returned to make its contribution to the world's great challenges."
After Lula, the second leader who has addressed the Assembly has been the president of the United States, Joe Biden (the United States is always the second to be the host country), who has dedicated an important part of his speech to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Joe Biden has sought to dispel the growing perception that the United States is getting tired of supporting Ukraine in that country's struggle to regain its territorial integrity. And he has chosen to launch the message the most relevant forum in the diplomatic world: the General Assembly of the United Nations.
"Russia believes that the world will get tired (of supporting Kiev) and that it will let it treat Ukraine brutally without paying a price for it. But I ask you this: if we abandon the central principles of the UN Charter to appease an aggressor, can any other state be sure that it will be protected?" the president of the United States asked an Assembly in which, for the first time in two years, the president of Ukraine was present. Volodymyr Zelesnki, who will speak about three hours later than the US president.
"Russia is on the road to peace," Biden said, in one of the few moments in which the usual monotony of his tone of voice turned into a certain passion, which was reciprocated with applause from the attendees.
Previously, the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, proposed at the beginning of the 78th session of the General Assembly "to renew international institutions of the XXI century" in a speech in which he warned that "democracy is under threat, authoritarianism advances and hate speech is booming".
"The world has changed. Our institutions do not," Guterres said. "We cannot effectively address problems as they are if institutions do not reflect the world as it is. Instead of solving the problems, they risk becoming part of the problem." Therefore, he added, "the time has come to renew international institutions on the basis of the reality of the twenty-first century. This means reforming the Security Council to reflect today's reality. Reform the international financial institutions so that they truly support developing countries."
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- Articles Pablo Pardo