UN General Assembly debate kicks off

UN General Assembly debate kicks off President Mugabe
President Mugabe at the United Nations (file pic)

President Mugabe at the United Nations (file pic)

Munyaradzi Huni in New York, US
The United Nations General Assembly’s annual debate started yesterday with the UN and the US preoccupied with developments in North Korea, whose ambition to acquire nuclear weapons is worrying the West.

President Mugabe is attending the Assembly and is expected to address the gathering this week. Activists from several non governmental organisations from Zimbabwe that descended on New York this week were hoping that the UN and the US would devote some time on Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular, but were left disappointed. UN Secretary-General Mr Antonio Guterres kicked off the annual debate yesterday, warning that “we are living in a world in pieces.”

“Our world is in trouble . . . People are hurting and angry. They see insecurity rising, inequality growing, conflict spreading and climate changing,” said Mr Guterres.

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He went on to outline seven key threats facing the world, and the major challenges to resolving them; the risk of nuclear conflict, international terrorism, unresolved conflicts and violations of international humanitarian law, climate change, rising inequality, cyber security, and the refugee crisis. The UN chief seemed to be attacking US President Mr Donald Trump for trying to curb immigration and the intake of refugees into his country.

Without mentioning any country in particular, Mr Guterres said “instead of closed doors and open hostility, we need to re-establish the integrity of the refugee protection regime and the simple decency of human compassion.”

When he took to the podium, Mr Trump warned that the US would “totally destroy North Korea” if forced to defend itself or its allies.

“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice, but to totally destroy North Korea,” said Mr Trump in his first address to the UN General Assembly.

“It is time for North Korea to realise that its denuclearisation is its only responsible future,” Mr Trump said. He described North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a “Rocket Man on a suicide mission for himself.” Mr Trump told world leaders that he would not seek to impose US values on the world.

“In America, we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch,” Mr Trump said. He said he would continue to place America’s interests ahead of other countries.

“As President of the United States, I will always put America first . . . All responsible leaders have an obligation to serve their own nations. “I will always put America first. Just like you, the leaders of your countries, should and always put your countries first,” said Mr Trump.

However, many delegates felt Mr Trump’s speech was full of fury, but signifying nothing. The way he praised himself and his government at the beginning of his speech and the “usual American arrogance” thrown all over his speech was a turn off for many delegates.

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