Duties and functions

UN to vote on allowing Ukrainian leader’s virtual address

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations General Assembly will vote Friday on whether to make an exception to its in-person meeting of world leaders next week and allow Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to deliver a pre-recorded speech.

The document put up for a vote would see the 193-member global body express concern that leaders of the UN’s “peace-loving” sovereign nations cannot attend in person “for reasons beyond their will due to foreign invasion, aggression, ongoing military hostilities. which do not permit safe departure and return from their country, or the need to discharge their duties and functions of national defense and security”.

The document, which has around 50 co-sponsors, would then allow Zelenskyy to submit a pre-recorded statement to be played in the General Assembly Hall, stressing that it would not set a precedent for future high-level assembly meetings. .

The draft document refers to the General Assembly resolution adopted in an emergency special session on March 2 – six days after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 – demanding an immediate halt of the Moscow offensive and the withdrawal of all Russian troops. The vote on the resolution, entitled “Aggression against Ukraine”, was 141 to 5 with 35 abstentions.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual meeting of world leaders at the General Assembly was fully virtual in 2020 and hybrid in 2021. But this year the assembly decided that all speeches should be delivered in person. .

The proposal to let Zelenskyy pre-record his statement requires a majority vote in the assembly and diplomats say it is virtually certain it will be approved. If so, his speech will be delivered in the afternoon of September 21, according to the latest schedule.