Leaders from all corners of the world, all getting the same pedestal to have their say. Saying many things about many topics that matter to them, to their regions, to the world: ideally, they carry a message from their people to the world. That is what the UN General Assembly invariably produces each year.
And each year, certain voices dominate. Here, we take the opposite approach and spotlight some thoughts - delivered universally from the rostrum at the United Nations following successive years of a virtual, then hybrid summit - from leaders who might have not captured the headlines and airtime.
"We may sometimes have the impression that we say the same things, that we repeat each other. I would like to disagree. If committing to peace and security, to development and prosperity, to upholding international law and respecting human rights, engaging in genuine efforts to mitigate climate change is repeating each other, then we are doing the right thing."
- Edi Rama, prime minister of Albania
"Many are beginning to understand that climate inaction is the most expensive option of all."
- Philip Davis, prime minister of the Bahamas
"We learn from experience that no problem is a minor problem. Every minor problem has the potential of growing into a more difficult and larger-scale problem."
- Dimitar Kovačevski, prime minister of North Macedonia
"Seventy-seven years after our United Nations was formed, we shall no longer be here in this august assembly to stage any claim, lecture, blame or shame one another."
- Saleumxay Kommasith, foreign minister of Laos
"Ultimately, we share this planet. Despite our differences, our destinies are interwoven, and no one is safe until all of us are safe."
- Vivian Balakrishnan, foreign minister of Singapore
"It is time for multilateralism to reflect the voice of the farmers, represent the hopes of villagers, champion the aspirations of pastoralists, defend the rights of fisherfolk, express the dreams of traders, respect the wishes of workers and indeed, protect the welfare of all peoples of the Global South."
- William Ruto, president of Kenya
"The seriousness of the present moment obliges me to share difficult, but true words with you. Everything we are doing here today seems impotent and vague. Our words make hollow and empty echo comparing to the reality we are facing."
- Aleksandar Vučić, president of Serbia
"The United Nations system was unable to prevent or stop the war in my country in the period between 1992 and 1995. Unfortunately, that happened again with Ukraine."
- Šefik Džaferović, chair of the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina
"We have no wish to dominate or intimidate anyone. We reject the idea of spheres of influence. As smaller states, we have an existential interest in effective multilateralism."
- Egils Levits, president of Latvia
"We believe that all wars end around the table. That dialogue is the only way to establish peace. This is how Madagascar reiterates its call for dialogue to resolve the conflict, because the consequences are global. They are getting heavier by the day and developing countries like ours are the main victims."
- Andry Rajoelina, president of Madagascar
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