Over 100 countries, including India, voted in favour of allowing Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to address the high-level UN General Assembly session next week through a pre-recorded statement because of his need to deal with the war following Russia’s invasion. The 193-member General Assembly voted Friday on a decision to allow Zelenskyy to address world leaders at the high-level General Debate through a video statement. The decision was adopted with 101 votes in favour, seven against, including Belarus, Cuba, Eritrea, Russia and Syria and 19 abstentions.
India was among the 101 nations that voted in favour of the draft decision. The document that was approved expresses concern that leaders of peace-loving U.N. sovereign nations can’t participate in person for reasons beyond their control owing to ongoing foreign invasion, aggression, military hostilities that do not allow safe departure from and return to their countries, or the need to discharge their national defense and security duties and functions.
The document permits Zelenskyy to submit a pre-recorded statement to be played in the General Assembly hall. It stresses that this will not set a precedent for future high-level assembly meetings. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual meeting of world leaders at the General Assembly was all virtual in 2020 and hybrid in 2021. But this year the assembly decided that all speeches must be in person.
An amendment presented by Belarus to replace Ukraine with any Member or Observer State facing the situation described above was not adopted as it received only 23 votes in favor, 67 against and 27 abstentions.