Live news: UN General Assembly opens under shadow of war

  • Denmark becomes first state to compensate climate-vulnerable nations

    Denmark has pledged more than $13m to support developing nations that have experienced losses caused by climate disruptions, becoming the first country to offer “loss and damage” compensation to the most climate-vulnerable areas.

    Danish Development Minister Flemming Møller Mortensen made the pledge on the sidelines of the UNGA, saying the new climate funds would go to the Sahel region in Northwestern Africa and other fragile regions.

    “I am very happy that we have agreed to increase support for climate-related losses and damages,” he said in a statement. “It is grossly unfair that the world’s poorest should suffer the most from the consequences of climate change, to which they have contributed the least.”

    Some of the world’s most fragile areas, such as low-lying islands are pushing to create a funding facility for “loss and damage” – or consequences of climate change that go beyond what people can adapt to – to be established at UN climate negotiations in Egypt in November.

    The United States, EU and other rich nations that represent the bulk of historical greenhouse gas emissions have opposed the creation of a separate fund to address loss and damage.

  • Macron: Russian invasion of Ukraine ‘a return to age of imperialism’

    The French president has told the UN that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine harked back to an earlier “age of imperialism”.

    “What we have witnessed since February 24 is a return to the age of imperialism and colonies. France refuses this and will work persistently for peace,” Macron told the UNGA.

    “Who is a hegemon now if not Russia,” he asked.

    Macron addressed the UNGA hours after Russian allies said they would call referendums on annexation in occupied parts of Ukraine, a move denounced by Western powers.

    “Those who are silent now on this new imperialism, or are secretly complicit with it, show a new cynicism that is tearing down the global order without which peace is not possible,” he said.

  • Stoltenberg: Referendum plans in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine a ‘sham’

    NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has called referendum plans in areas of Ukraine Russian soldiers control a “sham”.

    Speaking to Al Jazeera, he said: “Such referenda have no legitimacy because they are sham referenda. They will not change the nature of the war. This remains a war of aggression against Ukraine and it represents an escalation because if suddenly these territories, which are part of Ukraine, are declared as part of Russia, that will further escalate the conflict.”

    The self-styled Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, which Putin recognised as independent just before the invasion, and Russian-installed officials in the Kherson and Zaporizhia regions, have asked for votes over less than 24 hours.

    Stoltenberg also told Al Jazeera that the Russian military has “lost a lot of material, personnel” and that President Putin “made a huge strategic mistake because he thought he was going to take control of Ukraine within days”.

    He commended Ukraine’s military for taking back large swaths of territory, saying it is “due to the courage and commitment of Ukrainian armed forces, but also to the support that NATO allies have provided to Ukraine to enable them to defend themselves against the brutal Russian [regime of] President Putin against a sovereign nation in Europe”.

  • Emir of Qatar: UN must compel Israel to end occupation of Palestinian land

    The emir of Qatar has said the UNSC must compel Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian territories.

    In his speech before the UNGA, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said: “The Security Council must shoulder its responsibility and must compel Israel to end the occupation of Palestinian territories and to establish a Palestinian state along the borders of 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

    The emir warned that “failure to implement international resolutions and in light of the continuous change of the situation on the ground, the occupation and its settlement activities is pursuing a policy of fait accompli”.

    “This will change the rules of the conflict and will change the format of solidarity in the future. At this juncture, I stress that we stand in full solidarity with the brotherly Palestinian people in its aspiration to achieve justice,” he said.

    Emir of Qatar
    Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani addresses the 77th session of the UNGA [Amr Alfiky/Reuters]
  • Erdogan: US senators gave ‘positive’ feedback on fighter jets

    The Turkish president says he has received “positive” feedback from two US senators he met in New York on their potential support for the sale of F-16 fighter jets to his government.

    Turkey made a request in October to the United States to buy 40 Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-16 fighters and nearly 80 modernisation kits for its existing warplanes.

    Sentiment towards Turkey in the US Congress has turned sour over the past few years after Ankara acquired Russian-made defence missile systems, triggering US sanctions and Turkey’s removal from the F-35 fighter jet programme.

    That sentiment could derail the F-16 sale.

    “They’re speaking positively,” Erdogan told Reuters at the United Nations before his meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the UNGA in New York.

  • Erdogan urges support for Ankara’s conflict resolution role, UN reform

    Erdogan has urged world leaders at the UN headquarters on the need for a peaceful solution to the war on Ukraine, stopping short of providing any tangible steps.

    “That may not necessarily be reflective of Turkey’s shortcomings, in so much as it is a fact of where we are right now where no body or country has been able to find practical steps to put an end to this war,” said Al Jazeera correspondent Jamal Elshayyal.

    “That said, maybe Ankara’s position is a lot more promising than others in that it has succeeded in finding common ground to some of the knock-on effects of this war, particularly with regards to food security and the global supply chain of grain and other important things coming out of there,” he added.

    Erdogan did not limit his speech to the war on Ukraine; he also spoke about other conflicts, most recently the one between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Libya, Iraq, Syria, as well as other challenges facing the world.

    “But ultimately Erdogan’s main message to delegates was one of seeking support for his country’s attempt at conflict resolution,” Elshayyal said.

    Erdogan also made a renewed emphasis on the need for the UN to reform itself, “highlighting his position that the world is greater than five, referencing the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and how it is unfair and unjust that they have veto power over many significant decisions that impact billions of people around the world”.

    Erdogan addresses the 77th session of the UNGA at the UN headquarters in New York, September 20, 2022 [Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters]
  • Turkey’s President Erdogan calls for ‘dignified way out’ of Ukraine war

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for a “dignified way out” of the seven-month crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    “Together, we need to find a reasonably practical diplomatic solution that will give both sides a dignified way out of the crisis,” Erdogan told the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly.

  • Macron, Raisi meet on UNGA sidelines amid nuclear deal deadlock

    French President Emmanuel Macron has held face-to-face talks with his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi on the sidelines of the UNGA, with the French leader saying he hoped to be able to “discuss all subjects”.

    It was Raisi’s first such meeting with a major Western leader since he was elected last year.

    It comes amid a deadlock to revive the 2015 nuclear talks and as protests grow in Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, who fell into a coma and died after her arrest in Tehran last week by the morality police for “unsuitable attire”.

    France said on Monday there would not be a better offer for Iran to revive a nuclear deal with world powers, and it was up to Tehran to make a decision now.

    EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who coordinates the talks, said he saw little chance of progress at the UNGA.

    Iran’s Raisi [File: Majid Asgaripour/WANA via Reuters]
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  • Blinken eyes new cooperation on environment, maritime security

    US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will look to form a new community of Atlantic nations with another $100m in initiatives to support the environment and maritime security, officials have said.

    In New York, Blinken will meet his counterparts from Angola, Brazil, Ghana, Portugal and Senegal as part of a new grouping of about 10 countries, a senior State Department official said.

    The initiative comes as the Biden administration focuses on environmental cooperation around the world, including on the health of the oceans. It has already put a high priority on the Pacific, seen as an area of potential conflict amid the rapid rise of China.

    The official said the new Atlantic grouping will look to develop a “sustainable ocean economy” and support the health of the ocean, including by addressing climate change and marine ecosystems.

  • Guterres’s speech particularly grim, with Ukraine war raging: Al Jazeera’s James Bays

    Guterres has spoken of crises and wars being waged around the globe before, but this year, his words were particularly grim, says Al Jazeera’s diplomatic editor James Bays.

    “We’ve heard grim speeches by the secretary general before; in fact, I’ve listened to him since he [became] secretary general [in 2017] and it’s been getting tougher and tougher – his speeches, the words he has been using about the situation around the world,” Bays said.

    “But clearly on top of everything we have heard in previous years, we have a new one this year, a big one, and that is the war in Europe, the war in Ukraine.”

    “The Ukraine war has complicated things. It has made relationships really hard, you have problems dealing with Russia on many issues. When they’re trying to get consensus on a resolution that’s normally passed every year on nuclear weapons, that was difficult this year,” Bays reported from outside the UN headquarters in New York.

    Bays said these problems could play out in public on Thursday in a UN Security Council meeting called by the French foreign minister.

    “All those around the table will be foreign ministers … we’re going to have the Russian foreign minister and the Ukrainian foreign minister sitting at the same table and I’m not sure there’s a lot of agreement there.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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