'Unlikely' that world leaders will gather for UN General Assembly

'Unlikely' that world leaders will gather for UN General Assembly
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the UN was looking at "alternatives" for its General Assembly, which gathers world leaders in New York each year. © Belga

It is unlikely that world leaders will be able to meet in New York for the United Nations' annual General Assembly in September, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday.

In an interview with French magazine Paris Match, Guterres said that with the new coronavirus (Covid-19) still wreaking havoc across the world, it was "unlikely thousands of world leaders could gather in New York."

World leaders were set to gather in New York City, the epicentre of the pandemic in the United States, on 15 September, in a meeting marking the 75th anniversary of the intergovernmental body.

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Guterres said the UN was looking at alternatives offered by digital technologies to make sure the meeting could still go forward.

The annual assembly has never been cancelled but has been postponed twice, including in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York.

Several diplomats have already hinted that the pandemic was likely to transform the yearly high-profile event into a videoconference between world leaders, as it had with several high-level EU summits.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, one diplomat told the AFP that the procedures for the assembly this year would likely be "atypical, hybrid and different."

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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