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    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the UN General Assembly.

    How Will the 73rd UN General Assembly Meeting Go Down in History

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    Denis Bolotsky

    For one week, world leaders took the stage of the most powerful international organization on the planet to voice their concerns and to address issues of utmost importance to their countries during the UN General Assembly debate.

    On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held a news conference at the UN Headquarters to talk about the results of his US trip. For Russia's top diplomat this venue is a familiar place. He spent more than 10 years in New York in the 1990's and the early 2000's working as Russia's representative to the UN.

    At a news conference, Lavrov shared his views on a range of issues, such as peace in the Middle East, Iran's nuclear dossier and the situation in Syria. He frequently switched from Russian to English, and almost had the audience rolling in the isles following his remarks about "fake news" and "Russian meddling." 

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    When asked whether Russia was trying to "lure" South Africa's Boer and Afrikaner minorities, Lavrov joked that Moscow just didn't have time for that.

    Every year the list of "buzzwords" at the UN General Assembly changes. In 2018 "Iran," "DPRK" and "Syria" dominated the discussion, and the first thing that probably jumped to the minds of many observers was that "Russia" wasn't in the vocabulary of US politicians and their allies, aside from some positive mentions.

    A Russian senator, the head of the Federation Council's Foreign Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachev, told Sputnik that he was surprised by this sudden change of heart among Western leaders, which became particularly noticeable during Donald Trump's General Debate speech:

    "I do hope that the speech of Mr. Trump was a kind of a confirmation that the American President personally, and, probably his team, are still ready to seek understanding with Russia, and, at least continue talking with Russia, which is, definitely the only way to proceed."

    Russian delegation had a busy schedule during this year's General Assembly. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held a number of bilateral meetings on the sidelines. Besides the acting politicians, he had a chance to talk to those who left office decades ago, but know a lot about Russo-US relations.

    Meanwhile, Trump's administration seems be focused mostly on pressuring Iran. Russia, France and other key international players opposed America's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, but it seems like their words are falling onto deaf ears.

    The US presidential foreign policy advisor Michael Bolton, Trump's close ally Rudy Giuliani and other well-known figures recently have gone on long tirades about the "imminent regime change" in Tehran, while various Iranian-American anti-government groups rallied in front of the UN headquarters in New York.

    While Washington's attempts to intimidate the Islamic Republic are far from being successful, the situation on the Korean Peninsula looked much more promising for Trump and his administration, so the North Korean leader, who was once called "Rocket Man" by the US commander-in-chief, is now being described by the White House almost as a role model. 

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    Secretary of State Pompeo is preparing for a trip to North Korea to organize the next Trump-Kim summit, although some critics have already pointed out that his previous journey to Pyongyang didn't go quite well.

    America's role in the Korean peace process was clearly noticed by world leaders, but Moscow and Beijing have criticized the US for the lack of trust-building efforts.

    Sergei Lavrov is certain that positive developments in the DPRK will have to be reinforced by easing the pressure on Pyongyang. He sided with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the issue.

    The 73rd UN General Assembly started on September 18. Besides the General Debate sessions, world leaders also held meetings on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as well as on global politics, economics and environmental issues.


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