World leaders have started arriving in New York to participate in the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly. The official theme for 2018 is Making the U.N. relevant to all people: global leadership and shared responsibilities for peaceful, equitable and sustainable societies.
Two main issues that will be raised in this year’s debate are North Korea and Venezuela.
The foreign ministers of Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Paraguay, part of the so-called U.S-allied Lima group, will officially announce at the U.N. the sending of a letter to the International Criminal Court requesting the investigation of the Venezuelan government. Lima Group was founded in 2016 in the region to put pressure on progressive governments.
Various leaders from Latin American countries have traveled to New York for the UNGA debates. According to Prensa Latina, on Sunday, by far, five leaders from Latin America and Caribbean have traveled to the United States.
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Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel arrived in New York Sunday along with the country’s delegation which includes Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz, Minister of Communications, Jorge Luis Perdomo, the deputy minister of Foreign Affairs, Abelardo Moreno, permanent ambassador to U.N. Anayansi Rodriguez, and the ambassador of Cuba to the U.S., Ramon Cabañas.
One of the major issues that plague the country is the commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on the island. The country has appealed to the U.N. repeatedly to end the unilateral blockade. During the 73rd UNGA debate, the Cuban president will also participate in several multilateral and bilateral meetings with various countries and organizations.
Evo Morales also left for New York for the UNGA debate. His team is supposed to stay there for three days. He will be meeting the legal team on Monday that is handling the case of disputed water territory between Chile and Bolivia. The same day, Morales is scheduled to hold a meeting with representatives of Inter-American Development Bank and the Organization of American States.
After his speech at the plenary session of General Assembly, on Sept. 26 at 7 pm local time, the president will return to Bolivia.
Apart from Cuba and Bolivia, Argentina’s President Macri arrived in New York. Macri’s schedule is packed with meeting with various trade organizations like the Council of the Americas and the Chamber of Commerce of the United States.
Brazilian President Michel Temer is also en route New York where his opening speech in the 73rd UNGA will defend multilateralism and the role of United Nations. He will also meet Colombian President Ivan Duque and the presidents of the Mercosur regional bloc to discuss trade stalled negotiations between the bloc and the European Union. This will possibly be the last participation of Temer as the head of the Brazilian state in UNGA as his term ends on Jan 1, 2019.
Apart from the above mentioned Latin American leaders, the president of Dominican Republic also traveled to New York Sunday with first lady Cañdida Montilla, the minister of Foreign Affairs, Miguel Vargas, Administrative of the Presidency, Jose Ramon Peralta, Minister of Finance Donald Guerrero, and the government spokesman Roberto Rodriguez.
The president of the U.N. General Assembly, Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces, an Ecuadorean politician, and diplomat, pledged gender equality and supported reformation of the organization.
“Let us proceed together, building a world more equal and free, more sustainable and respectful of nature, and more inclusive and supportive,” she said in her first keynote address on Tuesday.
Espinosa, the fourth woman to be elected as the president of UNGA, outlined seven priorities – chosen as part of a consultation with Member States, will shape the year-long session through promoting gender equality; promoting and implementing the new global compacts on migration and refugees; advocating for decent work; protecting the environment; focusing on rights of persons with disabilities; supporting the UN reform process; and facilitating dialogue.