The Latest: World leaders invoke Mandela’s legacy at UN
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Latest on the United Nations General Assembly (all times local):
U.N. officials and world leaders are looking to Nelson Mandela’s legacy of championing peace, human rights and global cooperation as the U.N. General Assembly’s annual top-level meeting begins.
At a peace summit Monday honoring Mandela, General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces said the late South African leader “represents a light of hope for a world still torn apart by conflicts and suffering” at a time of doubt about the prospect of international action to address them.
Mandela’s widow, Graca Machel, told leaders they have “a moral imperative and the ability to bring the death and destructions we witness on a daily basis to an end.”
The Assembly adopted a declaration vowing to redouble “efforts to build a just, peaceful, prosperous, inclusive and fair world” in Mandela’s spirit. A statue of him was unveiled at U.N. headquarters.
Top Western and Arab diplomats are discussing Libya’s latest violence as France tries to salvage a plan for long-awaited Libyan elections in December.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is hosting Monday’s meeting in New York on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.
He wants Libya to follow through with a plan agreed in Paris in May to hold elections Dec. 10. The U.S., Italy and some other key players think that is too soon.
Speaking to reporters, Le Drian criticized those in Libya “who want to preserve the status quo for their own benefit,” notably to profit from today’s violence and lawlessness to embezzle oil.
Monday’s meeting comes as more than 100 people have been killed in the capital Tripoli in recent weeks in attacks by rival militias.
Libya slid into chaos after a 2011 uprising and NATO intervention that helped oust longtime strongman Moammar Gadhafi.
France’s foreign minister wants the U.N. to rally behind a Russian-Turkish accord averting a massive battle for the Syrian rebel stronghold of Idlib.
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Monday that the accord is “a good thing” and an “opportunity to seize,” despite concerns that it may not work.
Speaking ahead of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Le Drian said France supports a push for a U.N. resolution backing the Idlib accord.
However, he wants to add conditions to link the agreement to a longer term peace process.
Russia and Turkey reached an agreement last week for a buffer zone and cease fire around Idlib. Russia supports Syrian government forces and Turkey has leverage with opposition fighters.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the global drug problem is “alarming,” with some 31 million people around the world requiring treatment and some 450,000 deaths every year from overdoses or drug-related health issues.
The U.N. chief told a meeting at U.N. headquarters in New York hosted by U.S. President Donald Trump that a global spotlight on “this life-and-death issue” is needed now more than ever.
He said that “failure is, indeed, not an option,” and added, “Together we will succeed. We will never give up.”
Trump said global drug use has gone up 60 percent from the year 2000 to 2015.
He said he was “thrilled” that some 130 countries have signed on to a U.S. call for action to reduce drug demand, cut off supplies, expand treatment and strengthen international cooperation.