In a significant departure from the past, US President Donald Trump sent Acting Deputy Representative to the UN, Cherith Norman Chalet, to represent the country at the 75th commemoration of the UNGA (United Nations General Assembly). Trump was listed as the first speaker among member states on the UN’s agenda for the event. But much to the surprise of everyone, it was Ms. Chalet who spoke on the occasion.
She said that the United Nations had in many ways proven to be a “successful experiment” but added that there were “also reasons for concern”.
Speaking at the world body, she said, “The United Nations has for too long been resistant to meaningful reform, too often lacking in transparency, and too vulnerable to the agenda of autocratic regimes and dictatorships.”
The decision of President Trump to send a lower level diplomat to address the UNGA instead of sending his own recorded speech, or that of his Vice President Mike Pence or Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaks about the importance he gives to the world body and that too during its 75th anniversary. Even the tone and tenor of Ms. Chalet’s speech was critical of the United Nations.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi while participating in the virtual meeting, said that the United Nations faces a “crisis of confidence” and reiterated India’s long-standing call for reform in it to reflect “today’s realities” and “give voice to all stakeholders”.
French President Emmanuel Macron said, “Our shared home is in disarray. Our foundations are crumbling,”…”Wars of annexation, chemical weapons use, mass detention are all occurring with impunity.”
Other leaders spoke of the need for countries to work together on issues such as climate change and the pandemic. Cuba and Venezuela denounced US hegemony at the forum.