Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky allowed to give virtual speech at UNGA

The UN General Assembly voted Friday to allow Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to deliver a pre-recorded address to next week’s gathering of world leaders, Associated Press reported. The UNGA mandates all leaders to speak in person, but an exception was made because of his need to deal with Russia’s invasion. 

The virtual address was approved by a vote of 101-7 with 19 abstentions including China. The seven countries voting “no” were Belarus, Cuba, Eritrea, Nicaragua, North Korea, Russia and Syria. The document that was approved expresses concern that leaders of “peace-loving” UN sovereign nations can’t participate in person “for reasons beyond their control owing to ongoing foreign invasion, aggression, military hostilities that do not allow safe departure from and return to their countries, or the need to discharge their national defense and security duties and functions”.

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Ukraine proposed the document that had more than 50 co-sponsors. It permits Zelensky to submit a pre-recorded statement to be played in the General Assembly hall. It stresses that this will not set a precedent for future high-level assembly meetings.

Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya was happy that the assembly will have a chance to hear directly from Zelensky “about how he sees the end of this war and how he evaluates the impact of this war on global affairs and on the United Nations in particular”.

In an interview with Associated Press, he expressed gratitude that 101 UN member nations gave such strong support to hearing from Zelensky. He added that it was “pathetic” that Russia mustered only six other countries to oppose his speech.

Kyslytsya said Zelensky was scheduled to address the assembly Wednesday afternoon.

(With inputs from agencies)


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