UN General Assembly opens under shadow of war21 September 2022
Al Jazeera :
The United Nations' annual summit returned in person for the first time in three years on Tuesday, with UN chief Antonio Guterres warning in his opening speech of an upcoming "winter of global discontent" from rising prices, a warming planet and deadly conflicts.
The 77th General Assembly meeting of world leaders convenes under the shadow of Europe's first major conflict since World War II - Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has unleashed a global food crisis and opened fissures among major powers in a way not seen since the Cold War.
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."
Meanwhile, 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.
French President Emmanuel Macron has held face-to-face talks with his Iranian counterpart President Ebrahim Raisi on the sidelines of the UNGA, with the French leader saying he hoped to be able to "discuss all subjects".
The meeting is Raisi's first head-to-head with a major Western leader since he was elected last year.
It comes amid a complete stalemate 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 that 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 United Nations General Assembly.
Months of indirect talks between Iran and the United States have foundered over several issues.
These include Tehran's insistence the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) close an investigation into uranium traces found at three undeclared sites before the pact is revived, and a US guarantee that Washington would not walk out of any nuclear agreement again.