Almost no major world leaders showed up for President Joe Biden’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly.
The 78th session of the U.N. General Assembly opened Tuesday in New York City, with presidents and leaders of at least 145 countries gathering there.
And though Biden, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy were in attendance, leaders from countries on the U.N. Security Council — like France, the United Kingdom, China, and Russia — were expected to be no-shows, the Associated Press reported.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also skip the gathering after hosting the annual G-20 summit earlier in September, CBS News reported.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and China’s President Xi Jinping attended the U.N. General Assembly virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic, though past attendance in-person is rare for both of them, according to the Daily Caller.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday met with China’s Vice President Han Zheng ahead of the general assembly — with Han saying both countries face “difficulties and challenges” and must show “more sincerity” in order to “meet each other halfway.”
“While [U.K. Prime Minister Rishi] Sunak and [French President Emmanuel] Macron have an excuse, I do think it is telling that they are absent,” Richard Gowan, U.N. director for the International Crisis Group, told CBS News.
King Charles III is set to visit France while the international event takes place.
“That said, I think the General Assembly is a good opportunity for Biden and Blinken to work on firming up U.S. ties with non-Western leaders while Xi and Putin are absent,” Gowan added.
“Even without Xi and Modi at the U.N., there are quite a few non-Western leaders who will speak forcefully on behalf of the developing world,” Gowan told the outlet, referring to Lula and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, both of whom were expected to speak at the gathering.
Fran Beyer ✉
Fran Beyer is a writer with Newsmax and covers national politics.
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