General Assembly, Nelson Mandela Day and Veto Initiative - PGA Spokesperson's Briefing

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18-Jul-2023 00:05:21
Briefing by Paulina Kubiak, Spokesperson for the President of the 77th Session of the General Assembly.

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The General Assembly today holds its annual debate on the situation in the temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine.

The President of the General Assembly, Csaba Kőrösi, spoke more broadly about the situation in Ukraine.

The war has now been underway for 509 days, with tens of thousands dead, scores of thousands injured, almost 6 million refugees scattered across Europe and an additional 6 million internally displaced.

In his remarks, President Kőrösi, said that unleashing wars cannot become the norm.

Aggression against a neighbouring country is illegal.

Annexation is illegal.

Attacking civilian targets is illegal, the President said.

This was true in 1945, it was true in 2014, and it continues to be true today.

The President said that the effects of this war extend beyond its borders, threatening the prospects of a sustainable future for people and the planet.

Quote “Simply put, this war is fundamentally unreconcilable with the achievement of our shared Goals – the ones we hope to secure humanity’s survival.

We do not need nations fighting each other when we have a common enemy: the cascading crises all over the world.”

The President also spoke directly to Russia and its leaders, saying that he, as many others, have great respect for the Russian nation and culture. But quote “You initiated this war.

You have the power to end it. And, as one of the most influential decision-makers in the world, you can do it – if you want to.”

The President reiterated his calls for all parties to come together in dialogue and diplomacy to restart negotiations on the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

And he also – again – called for an end to the nuclear rhetoric.

The President’s full remarks are online and in your inboxes:

The General Assembly debate will continue in the afternoon.


Today is Nelson Mandela International Day.

The UN commemoration of the Day will be this Thursday, at 10AM in Conference Room 4.

President Kőrösi will deliver remarks.

The President will note that Madiba’s life sculpted monumental change during the 20th century and his legacy continues to shape the 21st.

Among other speakers at Thursday’s event will be Mrs. Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa… and NYC Mayor Eric Adams.

As part of the annual UN commemoration, there is a public service component.

The UN community is partnering this year with the City of New York to perform community service at the Nelson Mandela High School in Brooklyn.

The project is in line with this year’s theme for the Day of “climate, food and solidarity”.


Tomorrow, at 10AM ET the General Assembly will hold a debate in line with the so-called Veto Initiative.

This debate follows the Security Council meeting on 11 July, under the agenda item “The situation in the Middle East,” – specifically on Syria – when a permanent member cast a veto.

The debate will be in Conference Room 2.

President Kőrösi will deliver remarks.


Tomorrow morning, ahead of the General Assembly debate, President Kőrösi will pay his respects at the Annual Memorial Service for UN Personnel who lost their lives in the service of peace last year.


The President has a number of bilaterals today and yesterday.

Let me mention them quickly, and you will have the full names and titles in my notes.

This morning, the President met with the Foreign Affairs of Andorra, Mrs. Imma Tor.

This afternoon, the President will meet with State Counsellor László Borbely to the Prime Minister’s Office of Romania.

He will also meet with the Parliamentary State Secretaries of Germany. Those are Dr. Bärbel Kofler, – Parlamentary State Secretary, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and Dr. Bettina Hoffmann, Parlamentary State Secretary, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature, Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection.

Also today, the President will meet with the Serbian Minister of Science, Technological Development and Innovation; Ms. Jelena Begović

Yesterday, the President met, among others, with Edward Senzo Mchunu, South African Minister of Water and Sanitation.

The President also had a bilateral with Peter Balík; Minister of Investments, Regional Development and Informatization of the Slovak Republic.

As well as with Ms. Romina Khurshid Alam, Convener Parliament SDGs Task Force, Minister of State Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

The ongoing HLPF also have the President an opportunity to meet with Ms. Karoline Edtstadler, Austrian Federal Minister for EU and Constitution.

As well as with the Director-General of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Mr. Albert van Jaarsveld.


The Spokesperson was asked if the General Assembly is planning a meeting related to the Black Sea Grain Initiative. The Spokesperson said no, not that she knows of.

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