New York: World leaders won’t be gathering in New York for the United Nations General Assembly in September, the first time the event will be held virtually since its inception 75 years ago.
Because of travel restrictions and the risk of spreading the coronavirus, the UN on Wednesday voted to allow world leaders to submit pre-recorded speeches to the event.
In a letter to members, the president of the General Assembly added that “to limit the footprint and the number of people into the UN building, physical access and presence will be limited to one or, if the situation allows, two delegates” per member.
Countries will also be “encouraged to move all side events to virtual platforms to limit the footprint and number of people in the UN building,” President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande wrote.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in May called for a scaled-down General Assembly gathering in New York this fall as the prospect of thousands of diplomats from around the world descending upon midtown Manhattan for the annual event looked increasingly unlikely.
One question looming over the event is whether leaders such as North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, who have traditionally avoided traveling to the U.S. for the summit, will take advantage of the virtual gathering to participate for the first time. – Bloomberg
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