Leaders condemn Russia’s war in Ukraine at UN, pledging billions to fight AIDS, malaria and TB
At the United Nations General Assembly, leaders from Qatar, Senegal and Turkey called for immediate peace talks between Moscow and Kiev to end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as Germany and France denounced Putin’s imperialism in its smaller neighbor.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has taken centre stage at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday (20 September), with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz denouncing Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine in February, for which there was “no justification whatsoever,” because „this is imperialism, plain and simple.” The ongoing General Assembly is the UN’s first full, in-person leader’s summit since the COVID-19 pandemic and comes as the war in Ukraine approaches its seventh month. And while Lithuania urged the establishment of a war crimes tribunal to punish Moscow’s atrocities, French President Emmanuel Macron appealed particularly to countries, including many in Africa, that have chosen to stay neutral to “consider that the day when something similar, with a more powerful neighbor, happens to you, there’ll be silence from the region, from the world?”
But some countries from Africa and the Middle East expressed unease at having to choose sides. “I have come to say that Africa has suffered enough of the burden of history; that it does not want to be the breeding ground of a new Cold War, but rather a pole of stability and opportunity open to all its partners, on a mutually beneficial basis,” said Macky Sall, the president of Senegal and the current chairman of the African Union. Also Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani echoed the call for peace when he said that “we are fully aware of the complexities of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and its international dimension, nevertheless, we call for a ceasefire and the immediate pursuit of a peaceful solution to the conflict.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey will continue its efforts to end the war with an agreement that is “based on Ukraine’s territorial integrity and independence”.
Meanwhile, on the sidelines of a UN meeting, a donor conference has raised a record $14.25bn for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in crucial new funding, after decades of progress against the diseases was derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic. United States President Joe Biden, who hosted the conference in New York City, said the funding — the highest amount ever pledged for a multilateral health organization — is crucial to combating the diseases. “This is an investment that will save another 20 million lives, reduce mortality from these diseases by another 64 percent in the next four years,” said Biden. The United Kingdom and Italy have said they will announce their commitments at a later date.