The president of the United States will be among the figures who will seek to stand out in the annual event, which this time will be virtual due to the coronavirus.
A Donald Trump in search of re-election. The presidents of China, Xi Jinping, and of Russia, Vladimir Putin, back after several years of absence, and the Iranian, Hassan Rohani, are emerging as the main protagonists of a UN General Assembly that, in an unprecedented virtual format due to the coronavirus pandemic, this time it will have a record number of leaders.
The appointment opens this Tuesday, in a totally different setting from the one usually seen every September at the agency’s headquarters in New York. This time there will be no major security operations or caravans of official cars. The participation of the heads of state and government this time will be at a distance. Here, the characters that are sure to turn heads.
Donald Trump: The US president arrives at the great annual meeting of the United Nations at a particularly turbulent time: when the presidential elections in the United States are a month and a half away, with a highly criticized management of the pandemic, in the midst of a severe clash with China and in full diplomatic onslaught against Iran.
Since he was elected, Trump has managed to take center stage at the UN every September with his belligerent and undiplomatic speeches And, in what could be his last appearance at the United Nations – if he does not win re-election on November 3 – he is expected to do the same.
After feeding for a time the possibility of traveling to New York and being the only leader to intervene in person, the US president finally decided not to do so and, like the rest, will send his speech in a pre-recorded video.
Xi Jinping: After several years away, Xi was scheduled to fly to the Big Apple this year to mark the UN’s 75th anniversary, but will eventually have to settle for intervening by video.
It will do so in the middle of the “cold war” with the United States, a clash between superpowers, especially in the technological field, which has only hardened during the pandemic and which is one of the great concerns of the United Nations.
That confrontation has also reached the organization, where, according to diplomatic sources, China is gaining influence with a strong campaign to take advantage of the animosity of the Trump US Administration towards international organizations.
Vladimir Putin: The Russian president, who had also avoided the General Assembly in recent years, returns to the UN consolidated as a key player on the geopolitical scene international.
Victorious in his bet on the Syrian war, also involved in Libya and with a significant display of influence in Africa, Putin now plays a fundamental role in the crisis in Belarus.
According to Russian sources, however, the head of the Kremlin will focus his intervention mainly on the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences.
Hassan Rohani |: Iran will be one of the key issues in the UN General Assembly, amid the United States’ attempt to reimpose international sanctions against the Persian country and, in particular, to avoid the lifting of the arms embargo scheduled for this month of October under the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal.
The Iranian president has for now been supported in this matter by the rest of the international powers, who consider that the US, after abandoning the nuclear pact with Trump, does not have the right to use the mechanisms to restore sanctions.
However, some of those powers, especially the European ones, are at the same time highly critical of Iranian foreign policy and its incursions through third parties into other Middle Eastern countries.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan: The president of Turkey plays a key role in both Syria and Libya, two of the main conflicts today, but he is also experiencing a moment of maximum tension with Greece – and by extension with the European Union – over control of the eastern Mediterranean.
Nicolás Maduro: The president of Venezuela will speak at the United Nations only a few days after an international mission promoted by the organization directly accused him of being responsible for violations of human rights so serious that, in certain cases, they constitute crimes against humanity.