UN General Assembly meeting continues on the second day with leaders in attendance for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Zeljko Komsic speaks at UNGA in New York, US, on September 22, 2021.
Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Zeljko Komsic speaks at UNGA in New York, US, on September 22, 2021. (Reuters)

Leaders of several countries are speaking, in person and on screen, on the second day of the UN General Assembly's annual high-level meeting with racism, climate crisis, and worsening divisions among nations and cultures top on the agenda.

Leaders from developing countries, including many from Africa, are expected to call for more access to vaccines against Covid-19 and greater funding to tackle the climate crisis in Wednesday's session.

Climate crisis 'no longer a warning situation'

In his speech on Wednesday, Zeljko Komsic, Chairman of Bosnia and Herzegovina presidency told UNGA that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world and that the climate crisis is no longer a warning situation.

Komsic raised several issues at the UNGA meeting, including brain drain affecting sustainability in his country. 

On Tuesday, the United Nations chief warned global leaders that the world has never been more threatened and divided and "we face the greatest cascade of crises in our lifetime."

Secretary General Antonio Guterres rang the alarm in his annual state of the world speech before leaders and diplomats of UNGA's 193 member nations.

"We are on the edge of an abyss — and moving in the wrong direction," he said.

Saudi worked with OPEC+ and allies to stabilise oil market

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz told the United Nations General Assembly that his government worked with OPEC+ and its allies to stabilise the oil market.

In a pre-recorded video address, he also said Yemen's Houthis were rejecting peaceful initiatives to end the war and that the kingdom would defend itself against ballistic missiles and armed drones.

He also called for a "durable solution" to the Mideast conflict with the establishment of an independent Palestine state based on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. 

Sri Lanka urges protection of Afghan Buddhist heritage

Sri Lanka called on the world to safeguard the Buddhist heritage of Afghanistan under the Taliban, who provoked outrage by destroying giant Buddha statues when they were last in power.

"I request the United Nations and the international community to ensure the protection of the Buddhist heritage of Afghanistan," President Gotabaya Rajapaksa told the global body's annual summit on Wednesday.

Buddhism, the majority religion in Sri Lanka, once flourished in Afghanistan, symbolised by the towering Buddha statues carved on the cliffs of Bamiyan that survived for 1,500 years.

The Bamiyan Valley still contains a network of caves housing temples, monasteries, and Buddhist paintings.

Maduro seeks end to 'financial persecution'

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro told UNGA members to back his government's ongoing peace talks with the opposition in Mexico while demanding an end to "criminal sanctions" on his country by the US and EU.

"Our bank accounts have been targeted, our gold in the UK has been seized, billions of our dollars in the US, EU have been frozen," he said.

This is "financial persecution", Maduro said.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies