The US president would be the first government representative to deliver a speech on the anniversary of the United Nations. But Trump cheated on his colleagues. The UN celebrates its birthday in a state of emergency.
The United Nations celebrated its 75th anniversary with a ceremony on Monday – surprising but without Donald Trump. In fact, the US president should have been the first representative of the 193 member states to express himself with a pre-recorded video message. Instead, only US Deputy Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet spoke.
The otherwise high-ranking representatives reaffirmed the importance of the United Nations, but also called for reform. Due to the Corona crisis, the ceremony at the UN headquarters in New York was much more modest than planned.
Guterres sees more problems than solutions
As a prelude, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for international cooperation. “Today we have too many multilateral challenges and a shortage of multilateral solutions.” Effective collaboration with vision and ambition is necessary to tackle problems such as climate change, inequality and disadvantage for women and to combat hatred and poverty.
US Deputy Ambassador Chalet also paid tribute to the UN, but also spoke of the need for reform, a lack of transparency and susceptibility to autocracies. “This anniversary is an important time for the Trump administration to mark the many successes of the United Nations – but to do so with bright eyes and a renewed determination to see this important body achieve its goal.”
Trump gave no reason for the cancellation
Due to the corona pandemic, only one representative per member state was allowed to enter the large UN hall. The Heads of State or Government sent pre-recorded video messages. On Sunday, the UN had expected such a video message from US President Trump. A request about the background to the change initially went unanswered by the UN.
Chinese President Xi Jinping praised in his speech, “This organization has been put through one test after another and has emerged with renewed vigor and vitality.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also stressed his appreciation, but at the same time pushed for urgent reforms, including those of the Security Council. A video message from Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) was also expected later.
Solidarity and aid are especially important now
According to the UN, a worldwide survey of the anniversary with more than a million participants shows the great need for basic care. “In the midst of the current Covid-19 crisis, the immediate priority for most respondents is to improve access to basic services: health, clean water, sanitation and education,” the study said. The desire for greater international solidarity and aid to those hardest hit by the pandemic also plays an important role.
The United Nations was founded in 1945 with approximately 50 members initially. The Federal Republic of Germany and the GDR joined in 1973. The general debate of the UN General Assembly begins on Tuesday: usually a large annual meeting with ample opportunity for diplomacy in the corridors. Due to the pandemic, most meetings have been canceled this time.