STORY: As world leaders gathered in New York City Tuesday, for the United Nations General Assembly – fully, in-person for the first time in 3 years – U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened with a grim assessment and called on the U.N.’s 193 members to fix, what he described as “colossal global dysfunction."
"Our world is in peril and paralyzed. Geopolitical divides are undermining the work of the Security Council, undermining international law, undermining trust in people's faith in democratic institutions and undermining all forms of international cooperation. We cannot go on like this."
French President Emmanuel Macron used the occasion to warn that Russia's invasion of Ukraine was dividing the world and restoring the "age of colonialism."
In a forceful 30-minute speech, Macron pleaded for neutral countries on the war to take a stand:
"Those who remain silent today – despite themselves or secretly with a certain complicity – are serving the cause of a new imperialism, a contemporary cynicism that is destroying the world order."
Macron dismissed the narrative that the West was trying to defend outdated values to serve its interests, and that the rest of the world had suffered because of it.
"I call on all the members of this assembly to support us on the path to peace and act to force Russia to give up the choice of war so that it realizes the cost on itself and us and ends its aggression."
Amid the war in Ukraine, climate-change related catastrophes and a world still rocked by a global pandemic – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan reminded delegates they have a common responsibility for global stability.
“All these disasters affecting millions of people have shown once again that the United Nations will have to be much more effective, much more influential…"
On ending the conflict in Ukraine – Erdogan pointed to dialogue as being key.
“We think the war will never have a triumph, and a fair peace process will not have a loser.”
Turkey, which shares a maritime border with Ukraine and Russia, and has good ties with both, launched mediation efforts months ago.
President Joe Biden will address the General Assembly on Wednesday.
According to officials, he’ll use his speech to argue that Russia should be ousted as a member of the U.N. Security Council, and urge all nations to see that Russia's war against Ukraine is a violation of the U.N.’s 1945 charter.