Here is a summary of what world leaders said:
In his speech as host nation, US President Donald Trump accused Beijing of spreading what he called “the Chinese virus” and demanded that the UN hold it responsible.
He has defended his own handling of COVID-19 in the United States where the death toll has exceeded 200,000.
“We have waged a fierce battle against the invisible enemy that has claimed countless lives in 188 countries,” Trump said in a pre-recorded speech at the UNGA that lasted less than seven minutes.
“As we pursue this bright future, we must empower the nation that unleashed this scourge on the world: China.”
“We must hold accountable the nation which unleashed this scourge on the world, China.”
– Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) September 22, 2020
In contrast, Chinese President Xi Jinping adopted a conciliatory tone, calling for enhanced cooperation in the face of the pandemic and stressing that China has no intention of fighting “either a cold war or a hot war” with another country. .
Xi said attempts to politicize the pandemic should be rejected.
“China is the largest developing country in the world, a country committed to peaceful, open, cooperative and common development,” he added.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has defended his administration’s record in protecting the Amazon rainforest, saying during the virtual meeting that his country has been wrongly portrayed as an environmental villain.
“We are the victims of one of the most brutal disinformation campaigns on the Amazon and the Pantanal wetlands,” Bolsonaro said.
“The Brazilian Amazon is known to be very rich. This explains why international institutions support such campaigns based on subsequent interests, joined by interested and unpatriotic Brazilian associations, with the aim of harming the government and Brazil itself.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a “sincere” dialogue to settle the growing dispute with Greece over Ankara’s energy research in the eastern Mediterranean, rejecting any “harassment” from the West on the issue.
“Our priority is to resolve disputes through sincere dialogue, based on international law and on an equitable basis,” Erdogan said. “However, I want to make it clear that we will never tolerate any imposition, harassment or attack in the opposite direction.”
NATO allies Turkey and Greece are involved in a dispute over maritime gas drilling between Ankara and other EU member states.
The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, reiterated his call for unconditional dialogue and the lifting of the “illegal blockade” imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt .
“More than three years have passed since the start of the unjust and illegal blockade of the State of Qatar. Nevertheless, we have remained on the path of progress and development in various fields, ”said Sheikh Tamim.
He also called on the international community not to confront Israel for its illegal occupation of Palestinian land.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has vowed that the next American leader must accept Tehran’s demands, ruling out any compromise as Trump contends for re-election.
“We are not a bargaining chip in US elections and domestic politics,” said Rouhani. “Any US administration after the next election will have no choice but to surrender to the resilience of the Iranian nation.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin called for an international treaty to ban weapons in space and offered the Russian coronavirus vaccine free to UN employees.
“Russia stands ready to provide the UN with all necessary qualified assistance. In particular, we are offering to provide our vaccine, free of charge, for voluntary vaccination of UN staff and its offices, ”Putin said.
He also said the global economic slowdown caused by the pandemic renewed the need to remove trade sanctions.
French President Emmanuel Macron has said Europe will not compromise with the United States over Washington’s decision to reactivate sanctions against Iran, warning that the so-called snapback could undermine the Security Council of the United States. UN (UNSC) and increase tensions in the Middle East.
“We will not compromise on the activation of a mechanism that the United States is not able to activate on its own after leaving the agreement,” Macron said.
“This would undermine the unity of the Security Council and the integrity of its decisions, and risk further aggravating tensions in the region.”
South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for a regional infectious disease and public health initiative involving China, Japan, Mongolia and North Korea to tackle health crises and lay the groundwork for peace with Pyongyang.
“In the face of the COVID-19 crisis which poses a greater threat to humanity than war, we have been strongly reminded that the security of neighboring countries is directly linked to that of our own,” Moon said.