UNGA 2020: Donald Trump will deliver General Assembly speech from White House

US president changes plan to address annual gathering at the UN headquarters as most leaders stay away because of the pandemic

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during a campaign event at the Central Wisconsin Airport in Mosinee, Wisconsin, U.S., September 17, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner
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US President Donald Trump will not travel to New York on Tuesday for his speech to the United Nations General Assembly, but will deliver the address from the White House, his chief of staff said on Thursday.

"He's not going," Mark Meadows told reporters as Mr Trump flew to Wisconsin for a campaign rally.

The decision marks an about-face for Mr Trump, who last month said he wanted to deliver his speech in the General Assembly hall in New York, even if other world leaders were staying away due to the coronavirus pandemic.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres suggested in May that leaders send video statements to the annual high-level gathering instead of travelling because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The United States is traditionally the second country after Brazil to address the General Assembly, due to start this year on September 22 and end on September 29.

This year's event will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the world body.

In opening remarks on Tuesday, Mr Guterres emphasised this year's focus on the global response to the pandemic as well as "peace and security, disarmament, human rights, gender equality and sustainable development".