Almost no major world leaders showed up for President Joe Biden’s speech Tuesday at the United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly, according to The Associated Press (AP).
The 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly is taking place in New York City, where presidents and leaders of at least 145 countries will gather. Though Biden, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will be in attendance, prominent leaders from countries on the U.N. Security Council, such as France, China, Russia and the U.K., are not attending the U.N. General Assembly, according to the AP.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also not be in attendance 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. (RELATED: Eric Adams, Biden Don’t Plant To Meet Up During Trip To New York City Amid Border Crisis: REPORT)
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday met with China’s Vice President Han Zheng ahead of the general assembly, where Han said both countries face “difficulties and challenges” and must show “more sincerity” in order to “meet each other halfway,” AP reported in a separate article.
“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. 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 [U.S. Secretary of State Antony] 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 are slated to make speeches at the international gathering.