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UN General Assembly to Decide on Possible Delay of Annual Gathering

UN General Assembly to Decide on Possible Delay of Annual Gathering

Saturday, 4 April, 2020 - 09:00
Workers wearing protective suits pray before a disinfection operation, during the movement control order due to the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia April 1, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng
Asharq Al-Awsat

The president of the United Nations General Assembly has said that the 193-member world body will make a decision “in the coming month” on whether to delay the annual gathering of world leaders in New York in late September because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tijjani Muhammad-Bande told The Associated Press in an interview that “this is not something that has so far been an issue of serious consultation,” and for now the calendar of events remains. It calls for the General Debate — the official name of the high-level meeting — to open on Sept. 22, with a kick-off event for world leaders the previous day to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

But the former Nigerian ambassador said “in the coming month we’ll take a decision through the normal means,” which “of course” means consulting all UN member states.

The United Nations has canceled or postponed numerous upcoming events.

Muhammad-Bande on Friday announced the postponement of several General Assembly meetings scheduled in the next two months, including the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II on May 6.

“The current situation might have pushed us to postpone events celebrating the 75th anniversary (of World War II) but it illustrates, maybe more than anything else, the absolute need for the UN to guide the global efforts and provide much needed support to defeat our common threat” from COVID-19, he said.

Since COVID-19 emerged late last year, around 1.1 million people have fallen ill. Almost 60,000 people have died.

China, which appears to be over the worst of its outbreak, on Saturday held a national day of mourning for its dead -- well over 3,000 people have died since the virus emerged there late last year.

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