Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 October 2020

UN General Assembly

Donald Trump champions his 'peacemaker' role in UN address

The US President cited the UAE-Israel accord and withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan among his achievements

US President Donald Trump's speech for the UN General Assembly was streamed online because of the coronavirus pandemic. Bloomberg
US President Donald Trump's speech for the UN General Assembly was streamed online because of the coronavirus pandemic. Bloomberg

US President Donald Trump touted himself as a peacemaker at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, citing the signing of the Abraham Accord and the intended withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan as evidence.

“We reached a landmark breakthrough with two deals in the Middle East – after decades of no progress … these ground-breaking peace deals are the dawn of a new Middle East," said Mr Trump, hailing the UAE-Israel and Bahrain-Israel accords signed at the White House last week.

Mr Trump repeated his expectation that other countries in the Arab world would follow suit. “Many other Middle Eastern countries to come. They are coming fast and they know it's great for them and it's great for the world," he said.

Mr Trump also cited the Serbia-Kosovo "peace deal" and the withdrawal from Afghanistan after his deal with the Taliban, as signs of peace.

“This month we achieved a peace deal between Serbia and Kosovo. As we speak, the United States is also working to end the war in Afghanistan – and we are bringing our troops home. America is fulfilling our destiny as peacemaker,” he said.

US President Donald Trump is seen on a screen in an empty conference room as he delivers a pre-recorded address to the 75th annual UN General Assembly. Reuters
US President Donald Trump is seen on a screen in an empty conference room as he delivers a pre-recorded address to the 75th annual UN General Assembly. Reuters

Mr Trump went on to champion his withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which he said was terrible as he boasted of the "crippling sanctions" that have been imposed on Iran.

“We withdrew from the terrible Iran nuclear deal and imposed crippling sanctions on the world’s leading state sponsor of terror," he said.

He also defended US the killing of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force leader Qassem Suleimani in a drone attack in January, calling him the “world’s top terrorist".

But a large part of the speech was dedicated to attacking China over the Covid-19 pandemic that Mr Trump called the China virus.

“We have waged a fierce battle against the invisible enemy – the China virus – which has claimed countless lives in 188 countries,” he said.

He promised a vaccine to end the pandemic, despite US health officials' assessment that such an outcome was not realistic in the short term.

“We will distribute a vaccine, we will defeat the virus, we will end the pandemic, and we will enter a new era of unprecedented prosperity, co-operation and peace,” he said.

Mr Trump called on the UN to hold China accountable. “They [the UN] only want to punish America. And I will not stand for it,” he said.

He went on to say that if the UN is to be successful, it has to tackle global problems such as “terrorism, the oppression of women, forced labour, drug trafficking, human and sex trafficking, religious persecution, and the ethnic cleansing of religious minorities and decriminalisation of homosexuality".

The speech carried many of Mr Trump’s campaign slogans, 42 days before election day in the US.

“Only when you take care of your own citizens, will you find a true basis for co-operation,” he said.

But unlike his past three speeches to the organisation, this was done online and was pre-recorded. If he loses his second-term bid on November 3, this would be Mr Trump’s last speech to the UN General Assembly.

Updated: September 23, 2020 02:16 PM

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