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Climate crisis, food, war in Ukraine… Expected at the UN, Emmanuel Macron poses as a unifier in the face of international divisions

What themes will Emmanuel Macron address in his speech to the United Nations? And with what tone? All eyes converge on New York, where the 77th General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) opens on Tuesday, September 20, the largest annual diplomatic event. More than 150 heads of state from around the world are due to speak, in a context of great global tension marked by the war in Ukraine.

>> Power issues: does the UN still have a role to play?

This is the first time that the UN General Assembly has met face-to-face again since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. It must last until Saturday, September 24. Emmanuel Macron, he is on site for 48 hours of diplomatic exchanges. It started on Monday evening with a dinner with Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations. The President of the Republic will speak at the podium on Tuesday September 20 around 8 p.m. French time.

In this unprecedented international context, the challenges are numerous. Climate challenge, first, when the summer was marked worldwide by drought, fires, storms and Pakistan is facing catastrophic floods. The challenge for Emmanuel Macron is to prepare the COP27 which will take place in November in Egypt. “We are recognized as having a leading role, host country of the Paris Agreements, we created the One Planet Summit”boasts the Elysée, which pleads for a global climate agenda.

In 2021, Emmanuel Macron had not attended this United Nations General Assembly in the midst of the Australian submarine crisis. This time, the program is very busy: food security, Iranian nuclear agreement, global fund for the fight against AIDS. And, of course, at the center of the debates: the conflict between kyiv and Moscow. France calls for increased support for Ukraine, to put pressure on Russia, but broad international cooperation is particularly difficult, since this war is being waged by a permanent member state of the United Nations Security Council.

The war in Ukraine has revealed new balances of power. Clearly, there is the idea of ​​an opposition of the West against the rest of the world. On the one hand the Westerners and their allies, with the United States in the front line. On the other, Russia and China. Emmanuel Macron’s desire is to engage in dialogue with countries that have opted for neutrality and only see the war in Ukraine as a regional conflict, such as countries in Asia, such as India, and Africa, like South Africa.

>> Russia: Vladimir Putin increasingly isolated?

“It is not a question of asking them to choose sides but of ensuring that the war does not cost the most vulnerable countries”, specifies the Elysée. Limit the diplomatic, food, energy consequences while the Chinese Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, are the two major absentees from this diplomatic meeting. So heavy atmosphere. Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, will speak on Wednesday, remotely on video.

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