World leaders came together, virtually, on Monday to mark the 75th anniversary of the Uni Nations, as the coronavirus pandemic and economic disruption calls into question the effectiveness and solidarity of the organization that was created after the horrors of World War II.
Millions of people were forced into lockdown and economies were devastated when COVID-19 began to spread around the world earlier this year. Today, some countries are facing a second wave 193 members UN a has struggled to assert itself in the face of a wary United States, assertive China and a growing rivalry between the two.
On its own website to mark the anniversary, the UN said the event took place at a “time of great disruption for the world, made worse by an unprecedented global health crisis with grave economic and social consequences.”
The coronavirus has escalated lingering tensions between the United States and China. Washington accuses Beijing of a lack of transparency about the epidemic, which began in the central Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of last year.
In an apparent glance at Washington, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Monday: “No country has the right to dominate world affairs, control the fates of others, or retain the benefits of development for itself. . Even less should one be allowed to do anything. he loves and either the hegemon, the bully or the boss of the world. Unilateralism is a dead end. “
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Xi’s remarks were not in the video he recorded for the meeting. They were included in a longer statement which, according to the Chinese UN mission, was submitted to the global body.
China has presented itself as the main cheerleader of multilateralism after US President Donald Trump’s contempt for international cooperation led Washington to abandon global climate agreements and Iran, and quit the Council of United Nations human rights and the World Health Organization (WHO).
‘Reasons for concern’
Trump has been listed as the first speaker among member states on the UN agenda for the event. Instead, it was the Acting Deputy Representative of the United States to the UN, Cherith Norman Chalet, who spoke in the General Assembly Hall.
The global body has turned out in many ways to be a “successful experiment”, she said, but added that there were “also reasons for concern”.
” The Uni Nations has for too long resisted meaningful reforms, too often lacking transparency and too vulnerable to the agenda of autocratic regimes and dictatorships, ”she said.
Al Jazeera diplomatic correspondent James Bays said Trump’s absence raised eyebrows.
“People are wondering if this was a deliberate snub or an indication of how important the UN is to the United States in their priority list,” he said, s. speaking from outside the UN headquarters in New York.
Other leaders spoke of the need for countries to work together on issues such as climate change and the pandemic, and lamented rivalries that undermined the UN and international cooperation.
“Our common home is in disarray. Our foundations are collapsing, ”French President Emmanuel Macron told the assembly.
« The annexation wars, the use of chemical weapons, the mass detentions take place with complete impunity, “he continued.” Our international system is held hostage by rivalries. He is weakened by his inability to prosecute the individuals responsible for these abuses. ”
But Trump chose the timing of the UN anniversary to impose sanctions on Iran for violating a UN arms embargo and demanding its implementation by American allies, despite its decision in 2018 to unilaterally withdraw the United States from the six-power deal. Allies says he has no authority to make such requests.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said the pandemic has exposed the world’s fragilities.
“We can only solve them together. Today we have a surplus of multilateral challenges and a deficit of multilateral solutions, ”he said. “No one wants a world government – but we have to work together to improve global governance. “
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The 15-member Security Council took months to back Guterres’ call for a global ceasefire – to allow countries to focus on tackling COVID-19 – following feuds between China and US.
Several leaders called for reform of the UN and the Security Council in particular, arguing that it was unfair that the WERussia, China, France and the UK were the only permanent veto powers.
“A consultancy structure that leaves the fate of more than seven billion people at the mercy of five countries is neither fair nor sustainable,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
Monday’s special one-day event took place ahead of the annual meeting of world leaders at the A, which begins on Tuesday. No president or prime minister will be physically present in New York due to the pandemic and all statements have been prerecorded for release in the General Assembly Hall.
the A was created after World War II when countries decided to come together to prevent another such conflict. Although there has been no war of this magnitude since, leaders on Monday adopted a declaration acknowledging “moments of disappointment.”
“All of this calls for more action, not less,” the statement read.