U.N. General Assembly Meets Remotely; Trump Blasts China on Early Coronavirus Response; Bahrain, Saudi Arabia Praise Israel, Gulf States Peace Deals while PA’s Abbas Criticizes Them

The U.N. General Assembly held its first ever remote session.  U.S. President Donald Trump spoke on the first day of the meeting, condemning China for its response to the coronavirus in the early weeks of the pandemic. “The Chinese government and the World Health Organization, which is virtually controlled by China, falsely declared that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission,” Trump told the assembly in a taped statement. “The United Nations must hold China accountable for their actions.” China’s Ambassador to the U.N. categorically rejected the accusation, however, saying Chinese leadership “resolutely rejects the baseless accusations.” Reported by UPI. Read more…

Bahrain’s king, Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, spoke, praising the decision to normalize relations with Israel; but he also called on the creation of a Palestinian state based on previous plans. “From of our keenness to preserve the security and stability of the region, and as an embodiment of our resolute approach to openness and coexistence with all, we have announced the establishment of relations with the State of Israel, sending a civilized message affirming that our hand is extended for a just and comprehensive peace, as it is the best guarantee for the future of all peoples of the region,” he told the General Assembly. He also said, “We consider this a cornerstone for achieving a just and comprehensive peace leading to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, based on the resolutions of international legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative, in order enter a new stage of work in which we extend bridges of good neighborly relations to build and develop the common interests of the countries of the region.” Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Even as the General Assembly meeting went on, in Germany, the foreign ministers of Jordan, Egypt, France, and Germany, urged the Israelis and Palestinians to reengage in peace talks. “Ending the stalemate in peace talks, the creation of political horizons and the restoration of hope through credible dialogue must be a priority,” the ministers said in the joint statement.

Saudi Arabia’s Kink Salman also spoke to the U.N. General Assembly, singling out Iran, saying, “Our experience with the Iranian regime has taught us that partial solutions or appeasement will not stop its threats to international peace and security. A comprehensive solution and a firm international position are required to ensure fundamental solutions to the Iranian regime’s attempt to obtain weapons of mass destruction and its ballistic missile program.” He also backed U.S. peace efforts in the region. “We support the efforts of the current US administration to achieve peace in the Middle East, by bringing the Palestinians and the Israelis together to the negotiation table to reach a fair and comprehensive agreement,” he told the assembly. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the U.N. General Assembly, urging a speedy international conference to launch a “genuine peace process.” He criticized the recent deals between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain to normalize relations between the countries. His most interesting comment, however, was his statement that the Palestinians were preparing to hold elections at all levels of government, last held in 2006, including the presidency. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Shortly before the speech, Hamas and Fatah announced the deal to hold elections. Similar statements, however, have fallen through in the past. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, spoke to the U.N. during its annual general assembly, comparing U.S. sanctions to the death of Floyd George in Minneapolis. “We instantly recognize the feet kneeling on the neck (of George Floyd) as the feet of arrogance on the neck of independent nations,” he said. “The footage broadcast to the world concerning the treatment of an African American by the U.S. police is reminiscent of our own experience.” Comparing Iran to Floyd, Rouhani further stated, “the valiant Iranian nation has paid a similar high price for its quest for freedom and liberation from domination and despotism.” Reported by Fox News. Read more…