2021-09-21 18:37:10 Who’s Speaking at U.N. General Assembly, and Who Isn’t

Who’s Speaking at U.N. General Assembly, and Who Isn’t

On Tuesday, several prominent leaders delivered in-person addresses at the United Nations General Assembly meeting, including Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, an avowed Covid skeptic whose mismanagement of the pandemic threatens his political future. Mr. Bolsonaro also caused a stir when he declared that he would refuse to comply with the meeting’s vaccination requirement.

Many leaders are opting for prerecorded video, as was done last year, or having a lower-ranking representative speak in person, and the absence of a specific country’s leader this year can send a message.

President Xi Jinping of China, an increasingly important financial contributor to the United Nations and a rival with the United States for influence there, may be the most prominent leader to skip a personal appearance at the General Assembly.

Mr. Xi had planned to have his deputy prime minister represent China, but in a last-minute change announced Monday by United Nations officials, Mr. Xi will address the General Assembly via prerecorded video. His speech was scheduled for later in the day on Tuesday.

Russia’s President Vladimir V. Putin will not attend either event, and his Foreign Minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, will speak in his place.

In what could be another sign of France’s resentment of the US over a secret arms deal with Australia, French President Emmanuel Macron has backed out of speaking at the gathering, even via video. Instead, he asked his foreign minister, Jean-Yves LeDrian, to speak, which may now occur on the final day.

Iran’s new president, Ebrahim Raisi, also sent a pre-recorded speech, passing up the opportunity for personal diplomacy that could help save Iran’s dormant nuclear deal with major powers.

When the speeches began Tuesday morning, Mr. Bolsonaro was the first head of state to address the gathering. Brazil has spoken first since the mid-1950s, according to U.N. protocol officials, and the tradition began because no other country’s leader was willing to take on that role at the time. That position is now regarded as a prized position that can help set the tone for the week.

The presidents of Turkey, Mexico, South Korea, Poland, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are among the other first-day speakers.

The general rule is that the host country’s leader speaks first, followed by other heads of state, heads of government, vice presidents, crown princes, foreign ministers, deputies, and ambassadors. It is also determined by the date on which each of the 193 members submits his or her request.

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Who's Speaking at U.N. General Assembly, and Who Isn’t