Things to watch out for when the United Nations General Assembly meets this week

UNITED NATIONS (PA) – To watch beyond key speeches by leaders at the high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly this week in New York:

– A MEETING at UN Headquarters on Wednesday to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the UN Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa will be closely watched. It is boycotted by the United States, France, Israel, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia over concerns over anti-Semitic statements at the 2001 meeting.

– THERE are also high-level meetings on energy and the nuclear test ban treaty, and a summit on the connected system of production, processing, distribution and consumption of food, which, according to the UN, contributes about a third of greenhouse gas emissions. The UN Security Council will hold a high-level climate and security meeting on Wednesday.

– GENERALLY HIGH-LEVEL WEEK has hundreds of side events, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only a limited number are held primarily virtually or outside of UN Headquarters. These include events on vaccines, on children as invisible victims of coronavirus and conflict, on multilateralism and democracy, and on global hot spots like Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

– THE RESULT of a meeting on Wednesday of the foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the Security Council with veto rights is eagerly awaited. Afghanistan and other major global challenges should be on the agenda, including the lack of progress on the US re-accession to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Iran’s new Foreign Minister Hossain Amir Abdollahian is coming to New York and there is speculation that he might meet the five countries that are still part of the deal – Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

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