Naftali Bennett to address UN General Assembly

Bennett expected to discuss Iran and regional security issues.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will address the opening session of the UN General Assembly on Sept. 27, the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed on Tuesday. The news was announced in a message to Israeli media services so they could begin preparing logistics.

Bennett is expected to discuss regional security issues including the Iranian threat and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The annual opening of the General Assembly features addresses by world leaders. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, last year’s opening was sparsely attended and leaders addressed the UN by video link.

A provisional list of speakers that UN officials provided to reporters indicated that the leaders of Israel, the U.S., Brazil, Britain, Canada, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, Turkey and Venezuela among others were planning to address the UN in person. Officials stressed that the list was subject to change up to the last minute.

The Washington Post reported that Biden will use the occasion to call for an international summit on tackling COVID-19.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi will send a prerecorded video, though Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian is expected to be present, according to the New York Times.

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Asked about virtual diplomacy during the pandemic, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said, “I hope that with the support of technology, we will be able to minimize the negative dimension of a General Assembly that is not done in full presence of full delegations from all over the world.”

Guterres, who was elected to a second five-year term as secretary-general, added, “The presence of everybody, here, together, during a meaningful period, is a very important instrument that nothing can replace.”