Even though it's been a week since the 73rd UN General Assembly begun, it's the General Debate that usually attracts the most attention.
Hundreds of journalists from all over the world arrived to cover the debate. However, it seems that this year the organizers decided to put media further away from key newsmakers and the main events. Stricter rules for journalists were introduced at the UN headquarters and the media center was located in a temporary tent outside the main building rather than inside the HQ.
The UN media center was jam-packed as early as 8am on the 1st day of general debate. It’s a tent, which is quite far from the main venue. Harder to get inside this year, limits on media presence in the hallways of the UN HQ pic.twitter.com/QTls1aVT7q— Denis Bolotsky (@BolotskySputnik) September 25, 2018
It was the UN, where Donald Trump gave his "rocket man" speech last year, so, his presence at the 73rd General Assembly was highly anticipated.
Trump arrived late, so his "time slot" was taken by Ecuador President Lenin Moreno, who criticized the US for a number of issues, including the blockade of Cuba and interventionist policies.
After quoting Thomas Jefferson, Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno wondered how the U.S could "prevent others from having the possibility to enjoy the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". #UNGA— Jean-Cosme Delaloye (@jeancosme) September 25, 2018
Trump seems to be occupied with battles on the home front, with his nominee for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, being under fire for alleged sexual misconduct. The story is all over the TV in the US, so POTUS chose to write about the stronger points of his domestic policy ahead of the speech — issues such as the country's growing economy.
Will be speaking at the United Nations this morning. Our country is much stronger and much richer than it was when I took office less than two years ago. We are also MUCH safer!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2018
Nevertheless, in the speech itself, Trump mostly focused on foreign policy, highlighting issues that he considers successful, such as the North Korea peace process.
Other topics, such as the war in Syria, were presented purely from the American perspective, with Obama-era labels still in place.
In his UN speech Trump thanks Gulf states for their support, Jordan for housing refugees. No mention of Russia and its anti-terrorist missions in Syria. Calls Syria’s only legitimate govt “the Assad regime” – just like his predecessor Obama. pic.twitter.com/EMS4KxrVNp— Denis Bolotsky (@BolotskySputnik) September 25, 2018
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is holding a series of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the main UN event. He's expected to speak before world leaders at the General Debate later this week.
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini on her way to a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. A number of other bilaterals are scheduled for Lavrov during his one-week trip to NYC pic.twitter.com/xY3xYHVPQZ— Denis Bolotsky (@BolotskySputnik) September 25, 2018
The 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly opened on 18th September and is scheduled to run until September 25th.