The UN General Assembly’s annual debate kicks off on Tuesday, with world leaders addressing the forum via video speeches instead of gathering in New York for the first time ever due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Brazil is the traditional first speaker at the days-long event, followed by the U.S.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s speech will be the main focus of a “fairly boring” general debate, according to UN expert Richard Gowan from the think tank Crisis group.
Coming just weeks before the country’s presidential election in November, the “America First” president’s address will likely be geared towards a domestic audience.
The speech also comes as Washington is particularly isolated at the UN.
The U.S. insisted over the weekend that UN restrictions on Tehran had been reimposed, in spite overwhelming international opposition.
There had been some speculation that Mr Trump would speak live, but last week, aides said he had decided against it, resulting in a “distinct lack of drama” at this year’s forum, according to Gowan.
Pre-recorded video speeches are also expected on Tuesday from Iranian President Hassan Rowhani, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron, among others.
The videos will be broadcast in the cavernous General Assembly Hall, where only one representative per state will be present.
The gathering, which typically sees thousands of dignitaries descend on the UN headquarters, will this year lack the usual side events and informal meetings where diplomatic breakthroughs often happen.
The debate begins a day after the UN held a largely online event to mark its 75th anniversary.
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