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World leaders gather at UN under threat from unilateralism

September 24, 2018

281d54b3a9666f2d94b298d4c7a54f615cd2acfaAbout 130 world leaders are gathering at the United Nations this week for the annual high-level debate to address pressing global issues, from scrapping North Korea’s nuclear weapons to financing development.

Here’s a look at this year’s session:

– Gridlock in Manhattan –

With so many world leaders in one place, security is ultra-tight. New York police are shutting down streets to traffic near UN headquarters in midtown Manhattan and warning New Yorkers to brace for gridlock. The annual gathering elicits complaints from New Yorkers having to deal with a steady stream of motorcades and detours to get to work.

– Diplomatic speed-dating –

From Tuesday, 81 heads of state and 47 heads of government along with dozens of foreign ministers will take turns at the General Assembly podium. President Donald Trump will be the second speaker, right after Brazil’s President Michel Temer. France’s Emmanuel Macron and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani are also speaking on the first day. On the sidelines of the speeches, some 342 meetings are scheduled and hundreds of bilateral talks in a marathon that UN ambassadors have dubbed “diplomatic speed-dating.”

– New faces –

Several leaders are making their debut on the world stage including from Africa: Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Angolan President Joao Lourenco. Other newcomers include Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Colombian President Ivan Duque Marquez.

– Celebs –

7318423311af61b073a54b049cdf59bc115523fcThe United Nations is getting a serious dose of star power on Monday, when K-pop sensation BTS — the world’s most popular boy band — speaks at the launch of the “Generation Unlimited” UNICEF campaign. British-Lebanese international lawyer Amal Clooney will for the first time speak on the case of two Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar and actress Anne Hathaway will address a UN event on gender equality.

– Wagyu beef and chocolate mousse –

UN chief Antonio Guterres is hosting a luncheon for world leaders on Tuesday that caters to a wide range of culinary tastes. Lunch starts off with a small plate of cured gravlax carpaccio, followed by pan-seared Wagyu beef filet with grilled asparagus. For desert: bittersweet chocolate mousse, chocolate dacquoise filled. AFP


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