NEW YORK — World leaders will not gather in New York for the UN General Assembly in September after the United Nations decided on Wednesday to allow video statements to be submitted in advance for the general debate amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Speeches by leaders from countries around the world have usually been the highlight of the annual UN gathering. This year, the 75th session of the General Assembly is scheduled to open on September 15, with the debate set to take place from September 22 to September 29.
But the international body's 193 member states decided to allow pre-recorded video statements for the general debate and other events, such as a high-level meeting to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.
To limit the footprint and the number of people into the UN building, physical access will be limited to one or, if the situation allows, two delegates per member, according to Nigeria's Ambassador to the United Nations Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, president of the General Assembly, in a letter to members.
The decision came as the novel coronavirus continues to rage worldwide, infecting more than 15 million people and killing over 620,000.
Many travel restrictions remain in place and international meetings have largely gone virtual over the past months. — KYODO