World Leaders Clash At U.N. General Assembly Meeting Over COVID-19, Other Issues As SG Guterres Urges Unity

AP: World powers clash, virus stirs anger at virtual U.N. meeting
“Kept apart by a devastating pandemic and dispersed across the globe, world leaders convened electronically Tuesday for an unprecedented high-level meeting, where the U.N. chief exhorted them to unite and tackle the era’s towering problems: the coronavirus, the ‘economic calamity’ it unleashed, and the risk of a new Cold War between the United States and China. As Secretary-General António Guterres opened the first virtual ‘general debate’ of the U.N. General Assembly, the yawning gaps of politics and anger became evident. China and Iran clashed with the United States — via prerecorded videos from home — and leaders expressed frustration and anger at the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which the U.N. chief has called ‘the number one global security threat in our world today’…” (Lederer, 9/23).

NPR: In U.N. Speech, Trump Blasts China And WHO, Blaming Them For Spread Of COVID-19
“In a speech Tuesday to the U.N. General Assembly, President Trump once again sought to blame China for the COVID-19 pandemic and called on Beijing to be punished for its handling of the disease, which has killed nearly 1 million people worldwide — a fifth of them in the United States…” (Neuman, 9/22).

Reuters: Russia’s Putin wants stronger WHO, proposes conference on coronavirus vaccine
“Russian President Vladimir Putin told the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday that the World Health Organization should be strengthened to coordinate the global response to the coronavirus pandemic and proposed a high-level conference on vaccine cooperation…” (Nichols/Osborne, 9/22).

U.N. News: ‘Enhance solidarity’ to fight COVID-19, Chinese President urges, also pledges carbon neutrality by 2060
“The Chinese President Xi Jinping called for enhanced international solidarity to fight the coronavirus on Tuesday during his U.N. General Assembly address, declaring that his country would aim to become carbon neutral, in the wider battle against climate change, by 2060…” (9/22).

U.N. News: Brazilian President outlines action taken to address COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment
“Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has highlighted social and economic measures his administration implemented to address the COVID-19 pandemic and what he views as the politicization of the virus in South America’s largest country…” (9/22).

AP: Telling COVID’s story: At U.N., leaders spin virus storylines (Prengaman, 9/23).

Devex: Leaders juggle blame and calls for solidarity in first virtual UNGA (Igoe, 9/23).

The Hill: Putin calls on U.N. to strengthen World Health Organization (Castronuovo, 9/22).

The Hill: Trump slams China, WHO for COVID-19 spread at virtual United Nations gathering (Kelly, 9/22).

New Humanitarian: From COVID-19 to climate change: What we’re watching at the UNGA (Dupraz-Dobias, 9/22).

U.N. News: Unlike neoliberalism, coronavirus does not favor ‘richest one percent,’ Cuban President tells world leaders (9/22).

U.N. News: As U.N. turns 75, multilateral milestones show successes and ‘how much remains to be done’ — Kagame (9/22).

U.N. News: Forgetting lesson of history ‘short-sighted,’ Russia’s Putin says, calls for cooperation to tackle health challenges (9/22).

U.N. News: COVID-19 pandemic should be ‘shock’ to U.N., revive multilateral order, France’s Macron tells world leaders (9/22).

U.N. News: U.N. chief appeals for global solidarity at General Assembly, warns COVID is ‘dress rehearsal’ for challenges ahead (9/22).

U.N. News: U.S. delivering ‘peace through strength’: President Trump tells U.N. (9/22).

Washington Post: Trump and Xi clash as U.N. marks a gloomy 75th birthday (Tharoor, 9/23).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

KFF Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270 | Email Alerts: | |

The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.