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

Lots of leaders saying lots of things about lots of topics — topics that matter to them, to their regions, to the world.

That’s what the speechmaking at the U.N. General Assembly invariably produces each year. And each year, certain enormous topics and certain louder voices dominate.

Here, The Associated Press takes the opposite approach and spotlights some thoughts you might not have heard — the voices of leaders speaking at the first all-virtual U.N. General Assembly leaders meeting who might not have captured the headlines and the airtime on Thursday, the third day of the 2020 debate.


“It is beyond the shadow of doubt that the United Nations remains more relevant now than it was 75 years ago.”

— MOKGWEETSI MASISI, president of Botswana


“We have had to turn to global solidarity, because this alone can save us.”

— AZALI ASSOUMANI, president of Comoros


“We want equal opportunities for people globally to work from distance wherever they are.”

— KERSTI KALJULAID, president of Estonia


“I myself have had experience of suffering and adversity. However, I am deeply convinced that together we will come out stronger and we will win as humankind.”

— FRANCISCO GUTERRES LU OLO, president of East Timor


“Multilateralism is not only a matter of confronting shared threats; it is also about seizing common opportunities. We must seize this moment and emerge stronger, better and more inclusive.”

— LAZARUS CHAKWERA, president of Malawi

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