UN General Assembly meets for third day as leaders raise alarms on human rights, pressing matters

Third day united nations general assembly The conference began Thursday in New York City, with leaders from countries around the world discussing pressing issues such as climate change and global conflicts.

Approximately 80 world leaders spoke during the first two days of speeches. Thursday’s speakers include leaders of China, Palestine, Greece, Congo, Denmark and Dominica. A number of issues raised included climate change, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and economic cooperation.

Here are some highlights from the leaders who spoke on the third day.


Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has said that despite his government’s plans to further strengthen ties with the West and seek membership in the European Union, Serbia is “turning its back” on traditional allies like Russia. I can’t direct it.”

“I stand before you as a representative of a free and independent country, the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Serbia is on a new path to membership, but at the same time it is maintaining its traditional roots built over centuries. We have no intention of turning our backs on our friendship,” Vučić said.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić addressed the 78th United Nations General Assembly on Thursday. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Serbia has refused to join several other countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Vučić’s remarks came days after European Union-brokered negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo failed to make any progress. Both countries have expressed interest in joining the EU.

Serbia and the former province of Kosovo have been at odds for decades. The 1998-1999 war killed more than 10,000 people, most of them Kosovar Albanians.kosovo Declaration of independence in 2008 But Belgrade refused to acknowledge it. Kosovo is not a member of the United Nations.


Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian National Authority, called for international recognition of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

He also called for Palestine to join the United Nations like Israel.

“There are two states that the whole world is talking about: Israel and Palestine,” Abbas said. “But only Israel is recognized. Why is Palestine not recognized?”

“What are the dangers posed by the Palestinian state becoming a full member of the United Nations?” he added.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the United Nations General Assembly

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will address the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, September 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Craig Rattle)

Abbas said the effects of the Nakba, known as the “catastrophe” in Arabic for the mass displacement and deprivation of Palestinians during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, are still being felt.

Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Middle East War. Palestinians seek those territories for their desired independent state. Some have accused Israel of implementing a policy of “apartheid” in the Palestinian territories through its blockade of the Gaza Strip and security checkpoints.

Abbas said the Israeli occupation of land that Palestinians want for a future state “has challenged more than a thousand resolutions while rushing to change historical, geographic and demographic realities on the ground.” “It violates the principles of international law and international legitimacy.”

The Israeli delegation left the hall early in the speech to speak about Israel’s practice of preserving the bodies of alleged Palestinian attackers.

Danny Danon, Israel’s permanent representative to the United Nations, said Abbas claims to want peace but supports and pays for “the terror of innocent Israelis.”

“While he claims to uphold justice, he plagiarizes Israel’s history, its legacy in the land, and even its capital, Jerusalem. He claims to be the side of truth, but he also uses lies and warmongering. “We are reverting back to the same rhetoric,” he said in a statement. Reactions to Speaker Abbas’s speech. “And while the region is working towards true peace and cooperation, he continues to wage deceptive attacks on Israel year after year.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the United Nations General Assembly

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will address the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

“Palestinians deserve better and more. False, fabricated speeches at the United Nations no longer work, nor should they.” Danon added. “Instead of continuing with disinformation campaigns and endless empty slogans, it’s time for him to take responsibility and offer his people a brighter future.”

On Wednesday, Palestinian officials announced that six Palestinians had been killed in Israeli military operations in the occupied West Bank and violence in the Gaza Strip. Deadly violence between Israelis and Palestinians over the past year and a half has surged to levels not seen in the West Bank in nearly two decades. Israel has stepped up its raids on Palestinian areas, and Palestinian attacks on Israelis have intensified.

“Israel’s racist right-wing government continues to attack our people through its military and racist and terrorist settlers, threatening and killing people and destroying homes and property.” said Abbas.

Abbas is deeply unpopular among Palestinians, many of whom view his Palestinian Authority as a corrupt pillar of the status quo.


Chinese Vice President Han Zheng has sounded the alarm on upholding fairness, justice and international peace despite aggression against Taiwan and his country’s human rights record.

“Civilization diversity is an invaluable asset for human development,” he said. “Indeed, diversity is a defining feature of human civilization.Different nations and civilizations can prosper together by respecting each other, advance together by drawing on each other’s strengths, and benefit both by pursuing commonalities. We should pursue favorable outcomes.”

Regarding Taiwan, which China claims as part of its territory, Chung said, “There is only one China in the world.”

“The Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing all of China, and Taiwan has been an integral part of Chinese territory since ancient times.”

Chinese Vice President Han Zheng speaks at the United Nations General Assembly

Chinese Vice President Han Zheng speaks at the 78th United Nations General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters in New York City, September 21, 2023. (ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)

Beijing recently dispatched more than 150 fighter jets to Taiwan in an unprecedented military move, which Taiwan quickly denounced as “harassment.”

Despite its stance toward Taiwan, Zheng said that China “firmly defends the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries and supports their efforts to independently determine their development path according to their national circumstances.” I respect it,” he said.

Zheng also said countries should promote human rights through cooperation and oppose double standards, especially the use of human rights and democracy as a political tool to interfere in other countries’ affairs.

The comments contrast with Beijing’s detention of Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic groups in western China’s Xinjiang region. A United Nations report released last year said the Chinese government committed “grave human rights violations” in its treatment of Muslim groups.


Climate change remains one of the most important challenges, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told a world summit on Thursday, citing devastating wildfires, flooding and rising temperatures across Greece.

“The science is clear,” he said. “Unprecedented temperatures accelerated by global warming are creating the conditions for these catastrophic events.”

“This is no longer a crisis for the poorest or the Global South,” he added.

Mitsotakis also spoke about his country’s mass migration crisis. Over the past decade, Greece has hosted thousands of migrants who risk their lives in the Mediterranean to reach its shores, he said.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis addressed the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday at United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

He said the root causes of migration need to be addressed in countries of origin, along with investments in several areas to stem the flow of mass migration and break the business models of human trafficking and criminal gangs.

Many of the migrants arriving in Greece come from Africa.

“When it comes to immigration policy, Greece’s policies are tough but fair,” he said.

He noted that Greece is focused on strengthening legal immigration.

“We must fundamentally address negative political, socio-economic and climate trends,” he said. “Not only in countries of origin but also in countries of transit.”

On Wednesday, Italian President Giorgia Meloni also spoke out about mass immigration into her country and the criminal organizations transporting them, often under dangerous conditions.

Greek Prime Minister speaks at the United Nations General Assembly

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis speaks at the 78th United Nations General Assembly. (AP)

“Amid this turmoil, there are potentially tens of millions of people seeking better living conditions, some of whom are desperately trying to raise billions of dollars. “It’s infiltrated by criminal networks that profit from our thoughts,” she said. “They are human traffickers.”


French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said Europe had overcome centuries of conflict through cooperation and trust.

Regarding Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine, Colonna said, “There is nothing that can morally or legally justify an invasion of a neighboring country that conspires to annex its territory and alienate its people.”

“If we allow our common principles to be trampled there, they will be trampled everywhere,” she added.

French Foreign Minister speaks at the United Nations General Assembly

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna speaks at the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters in New York City, September 21, 2023. (ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)

She added that France supports the fight against Islamic extremism. She blamed the Taliban for their oppression of women in Afghanistan.

She said the Taliban had put “violence against women at the heart of their political identity.”

French President Emmanuel Macron was reportedly absent from this year’s top-level meeting due to his busy diplomatic schedule.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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