They said it: Leaders at the UN, in their own words

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Many leaders saying many things about many topics that matter to them, to their regions, to the world: That’s what the U.N. General Assembly invariably produces each year.

And each year, certain voices dominate. Here, The Associated Press takes the opposite approach and spotlights some thoughts — delivered universally from the rostrum at the United Nations following successive years of a virtual, then hybrid summit — from leaders who might have not captured the headlines and airtime on Wednesday, the second of the 2022 debate.


“It is time for multilateralism to reflect the voice of the farmers, represent the hopes of villagers, champion the aspirations of pastoralists, defend the rights of fisherfolk, express the dreams of traders, respect the wishes of workers and indeed, protect the welfare of all peoples of the Global South.”

— William Ruto, president of Kenya


“The seriousness of the present moment obliges me to share difficult, but true words with you. Everything we are doing here today seems impotent and vague. Our words make hollow and empty echo comparing to the reality we are facing.”

— Aleksandar Vučić, president of Serbia


“The United Nations system was unable to prevent or stop the war in my country in the period between 1992 and 1995. Unfortunately, that happened again with Ukraine.”

— Šefik Džaferović, chair of the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina


“We have no wish to dominate or intimidate anyone. We reject the idea of spheres of influence. As smaller states, we have an existential interest in effective multilateralism.”

— Egils Levits, president of Latvia


“We believe that all wars end around the table. That dialogue is the only way to establish peace. This is how Madagascar reiterates its call for dialogue to resolve the conflict, because the consequences are global. They are getting heavier by the day and developing countries like ours are the main victims.”

— Andry Rajoelina, president of Madagascar


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