UN gives leaders option to send videos for September gathering

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The United Nations General Assembly agreed on Wednesday to allow world leaders to again send video statements instead of traveling to New York in September for the annual high-level gathering amid the coronavirus pandemic.

This year’s gathering of world leaders, due to start on Sept. 21, is shaping up to be a hybrid event of in-person speeches and video statements as vaccination rates around the world vary and the spread of COVID-19 variants sparks concern.

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The format of the event for world leaders who do attend in person is still being discussed, diplomats said, specifically focused on the size of delegations that will be allowed to enter UN headquarters in New York and the General Assembly hall.

Last year had been billed up as a week-long celebration of the 75th anniversary of the world body, but leaders instead sent pre-recorded videos or had their New York-based UN ambassadors deliver statements due to COVID-19.

UN spokesperson Florencia Soto Niño said on Wednesday the world body would work within and follow guidelines issued by New York authorities on the coronavirus.

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