They said it: Leaders at the hybrid UN, in their own words

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Many leaders saying many things about many topics that matter to them, to their regions, to the world: That’s what the U.N. General Assembly invariably produces each year.

And each year, certain voices dominate. Here, The Associated Press takes the opposite approach and spotlights some thoughts — delivered in prerecorded speeches or from the rostrum at the United Nations after a yearlong pandemic break — from leaders who might have not captured the headlines and airtime on Friday, the fourth day of the 2021 debate.


“Migrants have been the frontline contributors during the pandemic as essential workers in the health and other emergency services. Yet many of them have been particularly hard-hit due to loss of jobs, salary cuts, lack of access to health and other social services, and forcible return.”

— SHEIKH HASINA, prime minister of Bangladesh


“Conflicts affect the lives of many people, and on a yearly basis we fail tens of thousands of children. We fail to protect them from violence, from cruelty, from harm, and from realizing their full potential. We fail to protect their right of being children.”

— ROBERT ABELA, prime minister of Malta


“Since the last time we met in person here at the UN, democracies around the world have been under pressure, if not assault. Irrational and dark forces have been at work, often aided and abetted by outside saboteurs.”

— IRAKLI GARIBASHVILI, prime minister of Georgia


“If we don’t have hope, people will stop believing in anything.”

— XAVIER BETTEL, prime minister of Luxembourg


“Let us not return to this great hall in September 2022 to lament further inaction. Let us not return next year to again decry unilateralism, nationalism, and failed collective action.”

— JOHN BRICEÑO, prime minister of Belize