Between crises and reforms

Between crises and reforms

The list of crises for leaders to discuss at the UN General Assembly starting this Tuesday is long. Much will depend on how U.S. President Trump behaves. His speech is eagerly awaited.

With demonstrative unity, U.S. President Donald Trump and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday spoke out in favor of reforms at the United Nations. In recent years, the UN has failed to reach its full potential because of bureaucracy and mismanagement, Trump criticized Monday at a reform summit in New York hosted by the U.S. on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. This is now changing under Guterres, who is doing a fantastic job. The UN Secretary General, for his part, reaffirmed his commitment to comprehensive changes.

The UN has an obligation to deliver less bureaucracy and more results, Guterres stressed. As a result, peacekeeping operations and development work would be more efficient in the future. Guterres also stressed that the UN was now taking more consistent action against sexual abuse by UN personnel. He also referred to the planned establishment of a council of high-level conflict mediators to prevent the escalation of smoldering crises.

Reform plans

The U.S. had urged U.N. member states to support a ten-point plan for reform before the meeting, to which Germany was a co-host. So far, 128 of the 193 nations at the UN have signed the declaration, said U.S. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. Differences remain, however, over the funding of the UN.

Trump reiterated that no nation should shoulder a disproportionate burden at the United Nations. UN diplomats fear U.S. could massively cut payments to world organizations.

The U.S. government's austerity plans threaten United Nations refugee aid, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, warned Sunday before a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Without money from the U.S., the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) would no longer be able to function, they said. At UNHCR, the U.S. contributed more than $1.5 billion of the $4 billion annual budget last year. The European Union and Germany were behind with about $360 million each.

Crises at the heart of the meeting

"Focus on Humanity": this is the heading under which heads of state and government from around the world will meet in New York starting this Tuesday. Dignity for all, sustainability and peace in the world to be the focus of annual debate at UN headquarters on East River.

But in fact, the focus is on wars and crises. Immediately before the meeting, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, warned of military escalation in North Korea and deplored increasing numbers of displaced people in Central Africa. Among other things.

Eye on Donald Trump

So there are enough ies that urgently need to be addressed, at least in the margins of the general debate. The focus of interest, however, is a man whom hardly anyone trusts to solve even one of these crises: U.S. President Donald Trump.

His first speech to the United Nations on Tuesday is eagerly awaited. "I firmly believe that involvement in international organizations like the UN is the best way to protect American interests," Guterres said in advance. At the same time, he announced that he himself would choose clear words in his opening speech.

Some politicians come, others do not

In addition to Trump, France's President Emmanuel Macron, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Israel's President Benjamin Netanyahu have also announced their attendance. The 72. For the first time, an Israeli will preside over the General Assembly as vice president. German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has canceled – just days before the federal election.

China's leader Xi Jinping and Russia's President Vladimir Putin are also making representations. Myanmar's de facto head of government Aung San Suu Kyi's failure to come to New York has earned her fierce criticism. North Korea's dictator Kim Jong Un, on the other hand, has never appeared at the UN before.

Despite some rejections, Guterres hopes general debate will contribute to global rapprochement. Improving relations between the U.S. and Russia is expressly close to his heart. "When these relations are bad, the entire international community suffers," he said, referring among other things to the ongoing war in Syria. To defuse future conflicts in advance, Guterres plans to introduce a panel of 18 high-level mediators in New York. First they should try to talk to the hostile camps in Libya.

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