UN / US AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD

17-Sep-2021 00:04:54
United States ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said her country believes its priorities “are not just American priorities, they are global priorities,” adding that next week “must be a moment to strengthen alliances and partnerships.” UNIFEED
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STORY: UN / US AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD
TRT: 4:54
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 17 SEPTEMBER 2021, NEW YORK CITY
SHOTLIST
FILE – NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, UN headquarters exterior

17 SEPTEMBER 2021, NEW YORK CITY

2. SOUNDBITE (English) Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations:
“Stopping the spread of COVID, stopping the spread of COVID is our top priority. Both here next week, and everywhere going forward.”
3. Wide shot, journalists
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations:
“Leaders have to be responsible. And they have to take responsibility for their actions and ensure that their actions do not lead to jeopardizing the health and safety of the people of New York, of all of the participants here at the United Nations, and that they don't take COVID back to their home countries. So, we are urging that all countries take the necessary measures to follow all of the procedures that CDC, and that the city of New York, has put in place to keep them safe and to keep all of us safe over the course of this week.”
5. Wide shot, journalists
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations:
“This pandemic is going to require - those numbers show that it's going to require the actions and the commitments of the entire world. And it's going to require leadership, and President Biden has shown that leadership in no uncertain terms. We have donated over 500 million doses of COVID vaccines across the world. We've given four billion USD to COVAX.”
7. Wide shot, journalists
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations:
“Climate change impacts every person in every nation on every continent. And it is a particularly significant threat to many of the world's developing countries. President Biden knows we must lead the way. He and Special Envoy Kerry are reinvigorating our global commitments and building on the Leaders Summit on Climate to raise ambitions at COP 26.”
9. Wide shot, Thomas-Greenfield at podium
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations:
“Democracy, human Rights and the international rules-based order are under attack. Authoritarians have used the pandemic as a pretext to violate human rights and tighten their grips. Increasingly they threaten in silence their dissidents in other countries, committing acts of transnational repression. Large wealthy autocracies have developed corrosive and coercive relationships with smaller poor countries. The Security Council must weigh in on terrible atrocities wherever they occur. There is no tension between sovereign rights and human rights.”
11. Med shot, journalist asking question
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations:
“We believe our priorities are not just American priorities, they are global priorities. And next week must be a moment to strengthen alliances and partnerships; to come together where we have a common interest in solving big challenges; to promote and defend human rights at every turn; and to demonstrate this body can and will uphold the international rules-based order that we all work so hard to build.”
13. Med shot, journalist asking question
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations:
“If the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People's Liberation Front take meaningful steps to enter into talks without preconditions and allow unhindered humanitarian assistance, the United States is prepared to mobilize assistance for Ethiopia to recover and revitalize its economy and build a future for its people. Otherwise, we will impose targeted sanctions against a range of responsible individuals and entities.”
15. Med shot, journalist asking question
16. SOUNDBITE (English) Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations:
“Some of those commitments, as you know, have been given to the UN in writing, and we will hold the Taliban accountable, not to what they say or what they have written in these written commitments, but for their actions, and the international community is unified in that position across the board.”
17. Med shot, journalist asking question
18. SOUNDBITE (English) Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations:
“Good friends have disagreements. But that's the nature of friendship, and because you’re friends you can have disagreement and continue to work on those areas of cooperation. And we will continue to work with our French colleagues on areas of cooperation, and address any tension in our relationship. But we don't see those tensions changing the nature of our friendship.”
19. Wide shot, Thomas-Greenfield leaving podium
STORYLINE
United States ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said her country believes its priorities “are not just American priorities, they are global priorities,” adding that next week “must be a moment to strengthen alliances and partnerships.”

Speaking to reporters today (17 Sep) ahead of next week’s UN General Assembly, the US ambassador said President Biden would address his administration’s top priorities, including ending the COVID-19 pandemic, combating the climate crisis, and defending human rights, democracy, and the international rules-based order.

Thomas-Greenfieldsaid President Biden is committed to leading, along with allies and partners, to stop the CVODI-19 pandemic. She said the US was building coalition of governments, businesses, international institutions and civil society to expand vaccine production, accelerate access to vaccines and life-saving treatment, and strengthen health systems around the globe.

SOUNDBITE (English) Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations:
“Stopping the spread of COVID, stopping the spread of COVID is our top priority. Both here next week, and everywhere going forward.”

The US ambassador stressed the importance of COVID-19 protocols during UNGA week, adding that she will be tested by COVID-19 testing and vaccination van which will be setup outside headquarters on Monday.

Asked if she was concerned the high-level week would become a super-spreader, Thomas-Greenfield said measures were being taken to avoid just that, adding that every visitor into the US must show proof of a negative test.

She said, “Leaders have to be responsible. And they have to take responsibility for their actions and ensure that their actions do not lead to jeopardizing the health and safety of the people of New York, of all of the participants here at the United Nations, and that they don't take COVID back to their home countries. So, we are urging that all countries take the necessary measures to follow all of the procedures that CDC, and that the city of New York, has put in place to keep them safe and to keep all of us safe over the course of this week.”

The US ambassador was also asked about figures released by the WHO indicating that some 5.7 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered globally, 73 percent of which have been administered in just 10 countries, including the US, Thomas-Greenfield said those numbers show that the pandemic “is going to require the actions and the commitments of the entire world.” She said President Biden has shown leadership in no uncertain terms, adding that the United States has donated “over 500 million doses of COVID vaccines across the world,” and given some four billion USD to the COVAX facility.

The US ambassador said climate change “impacts every person in every nation on every continent,” and represents “a particularly significant threat to many of the world's developing countries.” She said President Biden knows that the US must lead the way, noting that he, along with his Special Envoy John Kerry, are “reinvigorating [the US] global commitments and building on the Leaders Summit on Climate to raise ambitions at COP 26.”

She said the US was also participating in wide variety of meetings focused on combatting the climate crisis during UNGA, including a Security Council debate on climate and security next Thursday.

Thomas-Greenfield said diplomacy next week will also work on addressing threats to peace and security around the world, including Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Myanmar.

She said, “Democracy, human Rights and the international rules-based order are under attack. Authoritarians have used the pandemic as a pretext to violate human rights and tighten their grips. Increasingly they threaten in silence their dissidents in other countries, committing acts of transnational repression. Large wealthy autocracies have developed corrosive and coercive relatioships with smaller poor countries. The Security Council must weigh in on terrible atrocities wherever they occur. There is no tension between sovereign rights and human rights.”

The US ambassador also informed journalists of an executive order signed by President Biden this morning to increase pressure on parties to the conflict in Ethiopia. She said, for far too long, the parties to the conflict have ignored international calls, including by the Security Council, for a negotiated ceasefire and initiate an inclusive political dialogue to resolve Ethiopia’s crises.

She said, “If the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People's Liberation Front take meaningful steps to enter into talks without preconditions and allow unhindered humanitarian assistance, the United States is prepared to mobilize assistance for Ethiopia to recover and revitalize its economy and build a future for its people. Otherwise, we will impose targeted sanctions against a range of responsible individuals and entities.”

The US ambassador stressed that these sanctions are not directed at the people of Ethiopia or Eritrea, rather they are deliberately calibrated to mitigate undue harm and will target those responsible for the conflict in hopes that they will help bring an end to the suffering of the Ethiopian people.

In response to questions on Afghanistan, Thomas-Greenfield said she expected there would be numerous discussions on the topic next week, which would reaffirm commitment to the Afghan people, particularly women and girls, stress concerns about the situation on the ground. She urged the Taliban to listen to the international community, and to take measure that assure the international community, and more importantly, assure the Afghan people, that they will show respect for their rights.

She said, “Some of those commitments, as you know, have been given to the UN in writing, and we will hold the Taliban accountable, not to what they say or what they have written in these written commitments, but for their actions, and the international community is unified in that position across the board.”

Asked about tensions between US and France over the submarine deal with Australia and the new AUKUS defence alliance between the US, the United Kingdom, and Australia, Thomas-Greenfield said she continued to have a close working and personal relationship with the French ambassador to the UN. She said senior US officials were in touch with their French counterparts to discuss AUKUS, including before the announcement, adding that she heard from her Australian partners that they were also in touch with the French.

The US ambassador said her country continues to cooperate closely with France in the Indo-Pacific region and will continue to do so in the Security Council as well. She said, “Good friends have disagreements. But that's the nature of friendship, and because you’re friends you can have disagreement and continue to work on those areas of cooperation. And we will continue to work with our French colleagues on areas of cooperation and address any tension in our relationship. But we don't see those tensions changing the nature of our friendship.”

Thomas-Greenfield underscored that next week “must be a moment to strengthen alliances and partnerships; to come together where we have a common interest in solving big challenges; to promote and defend human rights at every turn; and to demonstrate this body can and will uphold the international rules-based order that we all work so hard to build.”
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