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World Leaders Flock to New York for UN General Assembly | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers an address to the UN General Assembly in New York. (Reuters)

New York – World leaders began arriving in New York to attend this year’s 72nd General Assembly of United Nations. The sessions are scheduled to begin on Tuesday morning amid political crises all over the world.

North Korean provocations and the future of Iran’s nuclear agreement are expected to be discussed on the international platform, in addition to the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

However, a few leaders will be missing from the General Assembly meeting, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping – both of whom have urged a de-escalation of tensions between the US and North Korea. Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi will not attend the General Assembly following outrage over ethnic violence in her country.

US President Donald Trump is set to meet several foreign leaders in New York, including French President Emmanuel Macron, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UN Secretary General António Guterres. He will also meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-In to discuss Pyongyang’s rapidly advancing weapons program.

Every year, world leaders attend the UN General Assembly in New York to discuss urgent international crises.

The whole world will be waiting to Trump’s speech and whether he will threaten certain countries. He will urge other countries to confront North Korea’s nuclear program, Iran’s hostile actions in the Middle East and other global dangers when he addresses world leaders for the first time.

Director of the Middle East program and senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington Jon Alterman said that while the General Assembly may appeal to Trump’s desire to have the world’s attention, the forum does not suit his negotiating style.

“The world is still trying to take the measure of this president. For a number of leaders, this is going to be their first chance to see him, to judge him, to try to get on his good side,” explained Alterman.

He is expected to discuss two big global issues: North Korea and Iran’s nuclear program.

Reports revealed that the US administration’s delegation at General Assembly is going to be much smaller than usual. Sources said that there will be strict limits on how many deputy assistant secretaries are allowed to stay in New York at a time.

That big reduction has analysts worried that General Assembly meetings won’t be able to deliver the usual amount of meaningful results.

Trump is expected to stay at his New Jersey golf club for the duration of the conference and may host world leaders there as well. The State Department is preparing for a number of meetings with foreign leaders at the resort next week, according to an August report by the Washington Post.

For decades, presidents have stayed at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan, although Obama shifted to the Lotte New York Palace in 2015 due to security concerns.

A senior fellow in the foreign policy program at the Brookings Institution Ted Piccone stated that it is just another example of how everything is about Trump.

He added that “it is relatively insignificant in the scheme of things,” but it does send a bit of a message.

Usually, each leader is assigned 15 minutes to deliver their speech before the General Assembly. However, Cuban leader Fidel Castro broke the record in 1960 with 269 minutes speech followed by Libyan leader Moammar al-Ghadhafi, who in 2009, spoke for over 90 minutes.

On the sidelines of the General Assembly, Bloomberg will hold its first-ever Global Business Forum, which will bring heads of state together with global CEOs to discuss opportunities for advancing trade and economic growth, and the related societal challenges, from climate change to workplace automation to terrorism, facing both groups.

World leaders from over 30 countries along with more than 100 global CEOs have confirmed attendance.

Bloomberg is sponsoring the forum in partnership with the Alibaba Group; Dangote Industries Limited; EXOR, the holding company controlled by the Agnelli family; the Mahindra Group; and MiSK, the philanthropic foundation of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.

President Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Christine Lagarde, President, World Bank Group Jim Kim, CEO and Chairman, Goldman Sachs Lloyd Blankfein and many others will attend the forum.

The 2017 Global Business Forum program will feature topics such as: multilateral engagement between business and government; understanding the new rules of globalization including changes to international trade, immigration, and labor policies amidst a populist backlash; greatest sources of opportunity exploring the new business models poised to succeed in the new global order, and the ways pioneering CEOs, world leaders, and next-generation visionaries are adapting their companies, their investments, and their national priorities to prosper in this new environment; and solving urgent global challenges through a new multi-lateralism and finding innovative ways to fill the gaps of government-led agreements with business solutions.