November 30, 2023

UNITED NATIONS — It’s Day 5 of the U.N. General Assembly high-level meeting that brings world leaders together at U.N. headquarters in New York. Here are the highlights of what happened Thursday at the U.N. and what to keep an eye on Saturday.

— Days after landmark talks between Saudi Arabia and the Houthi rebels, the leader of Yemen’s Southern Transitional Council — rivals to the Houthis — told The Associated Press his umbrella group of heavily armed and well-financed militias would prioritize the creation of a separate country.

— Speaking of Saudi Arabia (which has not yet spoken at the General Debate), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the General Assembly that Israel was “at the cusp” of a historic agreement with the Gulf country. He brought props.

— As the U.S. pledged $100 million to back a proposed multinational police force to Haiti that would be led by Kenya, Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry described the extent to which gang violence has riddled his country.

— Speech count: 34

— Key speeches: Foreign ministers from Azerbaijan, Armenia, lRussia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Belarus and Venezuela

— Name-checked in many, many speeches thus far over its war in Ukraine, Russia will finally have its time on the dais at the U.N. General Assembly, represented by its foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov.

— Armenia and Azerbaijan have already traded words over Nagorno-Karabakh at the Security Council but now each will get to address the General Assembly on Saturday. As a result, there’s a good chance the exercise of the right of reply could be made avail of after speeches conclude for day.

— Throughout the week, protesters have gathered at the barricades. They’re not full-time activists, but they’ve come to make their voices heard about what they describe as abuses in their homelands. Expect demonstrations to continue through the end of the General Debate.

“How many roads we have to walk, just to make it to the door, only to be told that the door is closed?”

— Mia Amor Mottley, prime minister of Barbados, roughly quoting reggae musician Rocky Dawuni to press the need for action on climate change and other global crises. Mottley has made a habit of including song lyrics in her General Assembly speeches, last year invoking “We Are the World” and, the year before, Bob Marley.

9: Number of member states on the Credentials Committee, a little-known U.N. body with murky inner workings that has outsized influence on who gets to grace the world’s stage, especially when it comes to divided countries.


For more coverage of this year’s U.N. General Assembly, visit

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